Up until this week it seemed like this could end up being the year without a winter. Arctic air swept in yesterday with wind chills down to -20° making it finally feel like winter. The one thing we are still lacking is snow. That could be about to change….
A chain of events that is complicated involving the “polar vortex” and “sudden stratospheric warming” could alter what has been thus far a mild, dry winter weather pattern. The long range forecasts seemed to have picked up on this and the outlook for the Midwest is favoring colder than average temperatures (right image below) and more than average precipitation (left image below). The 8 to 14 day forecast should bring hope for snow lovers.
It is hard to have hope for snow when you find yourself more than halfway through winter with a paltry 1.3″, a record for lack of snowfall so deep into winter. In an average year we should have nearly a foot and a half of snow by now. This year we have seen under 8% of average snowfall. Our first 1″ snowfall in 335 days could occur (at least in spots) Thursday night into Friday. Model solutions have indicated as little as a half inch to just under 2″ is possible.
Today will be a record 332nd day in a row with less than 1″ of snow on the ground. Nearly 40% of the contiguous U.S. is reporting snow cover with an average depth just over 4″.