Read this earlier and sounds pretty good for many of us in the Northeast. After getting pounded last year, the west sounds less snowy. Well see.
AccuWeather.com Issues Preliminary Winter Outlook
El Niño's Influence Points to Milder Start, Colder End Than Normal for Heating-Oil-Dependent Northeast
(State College, PA - September 19, 2006) - AccuWeather.com Chief Long-Range Forecaster Joe "edit for bad language"i predicts that the coming winter is shaping up to be quite different than last year's. The El Niño pattern that has noticeably impacted the 2006 hurricane season will lead to colder temperatures for the northeastern U.S. and Midwest, and a milder winter for the West Coast.
As outlined in "edit for bad language"i's preliminary seasonal outlook-the full 2006-2007 AccuWeather.com Winter Forecast will be released in mid-October-the winter in the Northeast and Midwest is expected to begin mild before turning significantly colder in January and February as cold air pours down from Canada. Overall, New York City and Boston are expected to average slightly below normal for the three-month winter period of December through February. The winter along the East Coast and Gulf Coast will be marked by stormy weather, because of the pattern created by the El Niño that formed this summer and was identified by "edit for bad language"i in the late spring.
El Niño and the East Coast Winter
An El Niño-a cyclical warming of Pacific Ocean waters-directs strong wind currents that tend to hinder hurricane development in the Atlantic Basin during the summer, and lead to a more active southern jet stream in the winter, which creates a wetter-than-normal pattern for the South and Southeast U.S. This precipitation works its way up the East Coast, bringing more storms to the region. "While the East Coast will most likely experience more precipitation, it is too early to tell whether the majority of this precipitation will be in the form of rain or snow," said "edit for bad language"i. "Timing will be the key in the major cities of the East Coast. Cold air from the north arriving too early or too late would lead to more rain and less snow."
Added "edit for bad language"i, "Given the overall pattern and the water temperature profile we expect, the region will likely see one or two major Nor'easters."
Winter's Effect on Energy Prices
"While temperatures in the Northeast will start out warmer than normal, a shift to colder weather during the final two months of winter will result in slightly below normal temperatures for the three-month period. This will lead to consumers needing more heating oil or natural gas than they did during last year's exceptionally mild winter," said AccuWeather.com Director of Forecast Operations Ken Reeves. "Chicago, which is dependent on natural gas heat, experienced relatively warm winters the past few years, and we expect this pattern to change this year. The last time we had an El Niño-the winter of 2002-2003-Chicago had to contend with slightly colder-than-average temperatures."
"That said," Added Reeves, "in most areas, we do not expect sustained exceptionally extreme temperatures, so energy prices will likely react more to economic and political conditions than to meteorological ones this winter."
Winter in the Rockies and the West Coast
As with previous El Niño years, a large high-pressure system will likely sit over the Rockies this winter, which will keep conditions relatively drier and warmer than normal. "Skiers and ski-slope operators in the Rockies may not be pleased by the prospect of less snow this winter," said Reeves. "Of potentially greater impact, though, will be the effects that a drier winter will have on areas in the region that rely on waters that come from the melting snow pack. With the possibility of less snow this winter, there could be less water available next year."
As for the West Coast, "edit for bad language"i forecasts that temperatures will be above average across much of the region.
AccuWeather.com's preliminary winter outlook is based upon expected jet stream patterns across North America and adjacent areas, combined with a weak El Niño.