Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cold Start To Winter, But Will It Stay That Way?

There's no doubt winter is off to a cold start here in the Great White North, in the upper reaches of New York and New England.
Saturday morning dawned clear and frigid in
St. Albans, Vermont, with a temperature of 5 degrees.  

This morning, temperatures hovered a few degrees either side of zero, with lows bottoming out at 13 below in Saranac Lake, N.Y., one of the Northeast's most serious ice boxes.

There was a record low of 4 above in Montpelier Friday, and it was 2 below in the Capitol City this morning, which wasn't quite a record.

November overall is running about 2.5 degrees below normal in Burlington, where it was 7 degrees above zero this morning.

So, have we started a trend? Is the whole winter going to be frigid?

Not necessarily. Weather patterns often switch in the winter. You might get a cold month, followed by a mild one, followed by wet, then dry.

November this year reminds me of 1989. That year, a massive storm caused a big tornado outbreak in the nation at midmonth, just like this year. That was followed by a persistent cold spell that latest through December.

December, 1989 was the coldest on record in Burlington, Vermont. By New Year's Eve, pretty much everyone was sick of winter.

Then the reversal hit. January, 1990 turned out to be the second warmest on record in Burlington. The snow melted and many days felt like spring.

That's not to say things will turn out that way this year.  The first half of December this year looks like it will be cold, but not as bad as 1989. There's no telling what will happen after that.

Those long range winter forecasts everybody puts out? Take those with an enormous grain of salt.  The long range forecasts aren't much better than a flip of a coin.

Already, some of the forecasts are partially wrong. The Weather Channel said we'd have a relatively warm November. Oh well.

For the record, The Weather Channel says our winter will be kind of mild, but trending cold toward the end of the season. Accuweather's forecast is about the same. The National Weather Service says winter will be on the mild side in the Northeast, while the Old Farmer's Almanac calls for temperatures not out of the ordinary, but quite a bit of snow in New England.

Again, I don't vouch for any of these forecasts.

If you want to know what the winter weather of 2013-14 will be like, talk to me in March. I can give you a very, very accurate rundown then.

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