Monday, October 19, 2015


Welcome to my 2016 Winter Outlook. I am expecting another active winter along the eastern seaboard. However, it will be warmer compared to last year. Considering last year was a record breaking cold winter, that doesn't say much. In fact, when you look at my map below you will see I am expecting temperatures slightly below normal.

So lets get right into it. Like last year this will be split into two sections:

  • The bottom line consolidated forecast
    • For those of you who do not care about the details and just want the know what to expect
  • The explanation behind the forecast
    • For those of you who want to understand how I made this forecast
    • I break many of the factors down in a short video below.

Preface: Results from Last Winter 

Here where the results of my forecast last year. On the left where my projected temps on the right where the actual results.

The 2016 Consolidated Forecast

Winter 2016 Temperatures

  • Slightly cooler= 1-2 degrees below normal
  • Cold= 2-3 degrees below normal
  • Warm= 1-3 degrees above normal
  • Much Warmer= 3-5 degrees above normal 

Winter 2016 Snowfall

Note: 1.3x means 30% more snow than normal. 

Winter 2016 Jet Stream Configuration

Winter Highlights:

  • Winter gets off to slow start this year in December.
  • Cold air then begins to consistently build in the south central and eastern US by  Jan and Feb.
    • There is evidence March could be an active month as well.  
  • It will not snow as frequently as last year.
    •  Much of the above average snowfall will come from 1-2 major coastal storms due to merging jet streams
  • February will be the coldest month relative to averages and December the warmest month. 
  • Winter will back off at times with mild temperatures giving more relief compared to last year
  • For skiers, expect another good season up in New England and above average snowfall for the Sierra Nevada's and Southern Rockies. 
Here is a map that shows average snowfall for the country if you want something to compare my map to. Click to make it bigger. 

Also, average snowfall for NJ- add 15-30% for the snowfall this year

The Detailed Forecast

Every year there are a variety of factors we need to look at when trying to project something as chaotic as mother nature. Those factors include:

  1. El Nino Southern Oscillation
  2. Other Ocean Temperature Patterns
  3. Snow Growth in Eurasia
  4. Stratospheric Wind Patterns (QBO)
  5. Seasonal Modeling
  6. Sun Activity 
I listed these factors in the order of their importance for THIS season. There is no question the evolving and potentially record challenging El Nino will drive many of the weather patterns this winter. However, we are seeing an overall set up that we really do not have a historical comparison to as it relates to the overall sea surface temperatures (sst) pattern. Not to mention, every El Nino is unique in terms of the placement of the  the warmest sst and the corresponding effect on the jet stream. 

In the short video below I outline the methodology of my forecast and discuss the 6 factors above.



    1. Yup, forecast will not verify this year. At least my area got one historical storm. Will we see one more? Pattern is there but still will be tough. Thanks for reading.

  2. Hi,

    I had made the exact same call with my colleagues at work back in November. Because I am in Calgary, Canada, the local part of that call worked out, but the US East part obviously didn't. My call for the US E was more based on the PV and Dr. Cohen's SAI than yours seems to indicate. What's interesting is that this PV-driven part of the forecast appears to start panning out now - instead of a cold late winter, the Midwest and NE appears poised for a very cool early spring. See you at the end of April, for verification! P.S. my profile is very similar to yours, except that I actually was a climatologist before branching out into ERP systems and accounting!