Winter outlook for 2017-2018

Storm Team 10's take on the upcoming winter

By Jonathan Kegges - Meteorologist
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ROANOKE, Va, - - The days are finally getting colder and some of us had to scrape the windshields over the past couple of mornings. Maybe in the back of your mind that season that begins with “w” is creeping in. Storm Team 10 has you covered when it comes to the upcoming winter.

Last winter we got to know La-Nina, or the strengthening of the trade winds that cools the waters off of coastal South America. Hard to believe, but those ocean temperatures play a huge role in our weather in the United States.

Typically, La-Nina brings our region above average temperatures and below average snow. This was on display in an extreme way last winter as Roanoke only picked up 4.6” of snow at the airport.

This year we are once again heading back to a La-Nina, but don’t start celebrating too soon summer-lovers as all La-Nina’s are not created equal. This year’s La-Nina looks to be a little stronger than last years.

In past years similar to this upcoming La-Nina, it was a pretty average winter. Storm Team 10 is currently expecting to see an average winter for southwest and Central Virginia, whereas last year the forecast was to see temperatures well above and snow way below. The forecast turned out pretty good last year.

Here’s the breakdown.

The winter looks to start out pretty warm with limited snow chances through December. Once we flip the page into 2018, the real winter starts. January looks to have several cold shots as the cold builds and charges while we are basking in the warmth of November and December. The second half of winter looks to be colder than the first.

The snow also looks to ramp up in January, with above average snow totals for the month.

Overall, in terms of expected snow and temperatures, expect to see numbers close to average.

When winter is over, we are expecting the temperatures to be slightly above normal. The numbers on the left in the graphic below is the average temperature for the winter when you average the afternoon highs with morning low’s and divide by the number of days for the entire winter. We are expecting temperatures to come in slightly above this.

As always, with seasonal forecasts, there is a disclaimer. Storm Team 10 has used a lot of science and climatology to put this forecast together, but it can change very quickly. If the La-Nina continues to strengthen, this outlook will change. There are other La-Nina-like weather phenomenon that cannot be forecast as far out as La-Nina or El-Nino and therefore can throw a wrench into any seasonal outlook. As those features come closer into view, we will continue to work for you and keep you as far ahead from Old Man Winter as possible.

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