Winter 2017-18 Outlook for Philadelphia: Below average snowfall ahead

- As soon as folks feel the first chills of fall, the questions begin about what to expect for the upcoming winter. 

At FOX 29, our Weather Authority begins by looking at the past and what happened last winter.  December 15, 2016, brought us our first snow of the season, though it didn’t even bring a half an inch of accumulation.

That brings us to Christmas. Every year, many people in our area keep their fingers crossed for a white Christmas. Well, you may remember December 24, 2016, brought some precipitation, but it was rain. Christmas Day was mild with highs in the 50s.

In the winter of 2017-2018, we’ll be looking at a very similar season.

First here are the top three things you need to know for Winter 2017-18.

  1. Temperatures will vary with most months coming in WARMER than the average.
  2. We’re expecting a weak LA NINA with more activity to the north
  3. We are forecasting a snowfall total BELOW our current average of 22.4 inches

CLIMATE IMPACT:

When making the winter forecast we look carefully at forces that will influence our climate.

One of those, is El Nino, the temperature of the water in the eastern Pacific.

This winter we expect a weak La Nina. Colder water in the eastern Pacific that will influence the storm track over the U.S.

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That means the jet stream will be most active over the Great Lakes and the Northeast, with more clipper systems, just like last year.

Skiers will love it, with more snow expected in the mountains but less in the big cities of Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

TEMPERATURES:

The next thing we look at when making out Winter Outlook is a month-to-month breakdown of the temperatures.

December temperatures will be above average, with colder air not arriving until we get into January.

January will be below average, while February will be at least two degrees above average.

March should be up to one degree above the monthly average temperature.

SNOWFALL:

So finally, we get to snowfall. Don’t expect much of it in December with milder temps hanging around through the New Year. We will ease into the winter season with mostly rain in December leaving us with just a slight chance of a white Christmas yet again.

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January should bring a little more snowfall with clipper systems that will limit moisture to start 2018. Similar to last winter, there will be a pattern change in late January through mid-February when there will be a better chance of coastal storms with 6 inches or greater snowfalls.

January should end with average snowfall around 6.5 inches.

March could bring some late snow our way as well, with 2-5 inches expected.

In all, the FOX 29 Weather Authority is forecasting 15-22 inches of snow in the winter of 2017-2018, which falls short of the annual average of 22.4 inches.

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