FOX 29 Weather Authority Winter Outlook

PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - We tend have tough winters in Philadelphia. But what can we expect this year? See what the FOX 29 Weather Authority predicts for the winter of 2015-2016.

The storm of January 1996 was the biggest ever at 30.7 inches. The winter of 2009-2010 was the snowiest winter we've ever had, with 78.7 inches, but most of our winters aren't that extreme.

We hardly ever get a white Christmas. For our area, winter usually unleashes its worst after the holidays.

Last winter, our coldest night was February 20 with a low temp of just two degrees.

As for snowfall, hardly a flake fell until January 6, when we got an inch and a half. With only 3 more storms after that, we ended up with a seasonal total of 27 inches.

But the winter before that was the second snowiest ever at 67.6 inches.

In the two winters prior to that and we saw 8 inches in 2012-13, and only 4 inches all winter in 2011-12.

However, during the winter ahead, there's something different in play.

How will the El Niño effect temps?

With the presence of El Niño, temperatures in our area will continue to run above average at least for the start of winter.

FOX 29's Weather Authority expects a mild December and January with the coldest air of the season not arriving in earnest until February.

This is when the El Niño could break down some and alter the jet stream in a way that will transport arctic air from the poles and Canada into our region. Yes, we're talking about the polar vortex!

That's when you'll really need those extra layers and heavier winter coats. You may also need those snow blowers and shovels around this time too.

Snowfall Totals

We will get off to a slow start this winter, as mild temperatures will mean we will see more rain events this December.

Even when there is a cold snap it will not hold. Expect any snow to change to rain not amounting to much.

This means there will only be a slight 20% chance of a White Christmas with December snowfall below the 3.4 inch monthly average.

January will be the time to get your shovel read, with a better chance of an accumulating snow, but FOX 29's Weather Authority anticipates that the moisture supply will be limited.

Once again snow amounts will be below the monthly average of 6.5 inches.

Snow lovers, there is better news for February, when the impact of El Niño weakens. This will be our best chance of a seeing one or two significant snowfalls.

February snow will be well above the 8.8 inch average. Remember, there is a chance snow could fall in March, as well!

This leads to a FOX 29 Weather Authority forecast of: 16-22 inches of snow this winter.

That's slightly less than the annual average of 22.4 inches.