November 19, 2023
This is my lowest confident weather product of the year. Predicting snow for individual events is hard enough. I am not perfect, but I do have a decent track record. In fact, I still hold myself accountable for every winter event and ask for public grading of my forecast for posterity.
Trying to call an entire season in all honesty is glorified guesswork based on a lot of information and a little finesse.
If you have followed any of my winter outlooks over the past decade or so, then you might recall there have been some big wins, some losses, and last year was an epic fail! The biggest mistake I made was calling for a near-normal winter, but instead, we had the lowest snow on record in 140 years.
It will snow more because it can’t snow less!
I’ve stated this a few times and I stand by it. In fact, I do believe we will have an active winter which is reflected in my ‘expectation’ for seasonal snow map below. Go big or go home, right? How big leaves this open for a big bust potential!!! Some of our biggest AND lowest snow years have been during El Niño winters.
I took my time with this winter outlook. I have written many reports including the enhancing El Niño in the Pacific Ocean and how that may influence our winter weather pattern. I also included Atmospheric Memory, History, and some secret ingredients.
Extremes Follow Extremes
Looking at the average snow per decade last century:
- Lowest Snow: 1950s
- Highest Snow: 1960s
Low Snow History
“I’ll Believe It When I See It”
“It Doesn’t Snow Anymore”
I’ve heard this from many people and I get it. So let’s take a look at some snow stats based in Baltimore.
Winters With Under 5 inches of Snow
Since 1883, there have been 14 years with less than 5 inches of snow.
5 years since 2000! This definitely helps support the low expectations.
Winters Between 5 and 10 inches of Snow
This is in the range of LESS THAN HALF AVERAGE SNOW.
Since 1883 there have also been 14 years in this category. Making a total of 28 out of 140 years with UNDER 10 Inches of snow.
4 years since 2000.
A total of 9 years since 2000 (almost half) with less than 10 inches of snow.
ALL OR NOTHING
Large Winter Storms OVER 10 Inches In Baltimore.
Since 2000, there have been 8 storms with double-digit snow. It is just as easy to get a single storm to drop more snow than an entire low winter.
Top 25 Snowstorms
On this list, 8 of the BIG SNOWSTORMS have occurred since 2000!
El Niño Winters
There is an El Niño Advisory in place as the event of warm water in the tropical Pacific Ocean has shown signs it may be one of the top 3 events on record…. This can have a big impact on the winter storm pattern across the U.S.
El Niño Snow
I showed this chart in my recent El Niño report (compare models support East Coast Storms). This shows the Moderate to Strong El Niño Winters and the snowfall in Baltimore.
Since 2000, the moderate to strong El Niños have brought two of the top three snowy winters.
Since 1972: 5 of 8 of these winters have had at least 35 inches of snow.
El Niño Winter Pattern
This does support a more active Southern Jet Stream… which would lead to more Gulf and possibly East Coast storms.
My Expectations For Likely Winter Storm Tracks
This pattern can bring:
- Inland Tracks = More Rain (some ice)
- Coastal Storms DO NOT guarantee snow for us. It is threading the needle to get it just right for big snow.
North Atlantic Blocks:
I’ve seen a few tropical systems show signals that there may be a weaker Polar Vortex and more BLOCKING in the North Atlantic. This will help keep some of those coastal storms closer to the Mid-Atlantic and New England. The potential is there for at least one or two of those winter storms to produce BIG SNOW!
Yes, the benchmark if we do get an ‘active winter’ would tend to lean towards 35 inches or more for Baltimore.
I must highlight that I believe overdevelopment at BWI and its vicinity has led this location to be artificially warmer than the surrounding areas. This has led me to be cautious about the snow totals measured at this location.
El Nino’s Winters Favor Later Season Snow:
We might get some early-season snow, then a mild December.
Bigger Snow: January and February.
Normal Winter Snow Per Month
“Normal” Winter Snow Maps
Notice the widespread with less by the Bay and Eastern Shore and more inland away from the water and in the higher elevations.
My Call For Snowfall
- Above average all around.
- I gave large ranges to account for variations within storms.
- Big BUST Potential. There will either be a very favorable pattern with multiple moderate to large storms… or we end up missing the action.
- Storms will be MORE FAVORABLE JANUARY AND FEBRUARY.
Other Winter Outlook Reports:
El Niño Winter Updates
The latest NOAA report is confident in a Very Strong event. Possibly HISTORIC! This refers to the temperatures in the Pacific, with impacts on the US Winter Storm Track.
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Maryland Snow Climate History And Other Winter Pages
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RESTATING MY MESSAGE ABOUT DYSLEXIA
I am aware there are some spelling and grammar typos and occasional other glitches. I take responsibility for my mistakes and even the computer glitches I may miss. I have made a few public statements over the years, but if you are new here, you may have missed it: I have dyslexia and found out during my second year at Cornell University. It didn’t stop me from getting my meteorology degree and being the first to get the AMS CBM in the Baltimore/Washington region. One of my professors told me that I had made it that far without knowing and to not let it be a crutch going forward. That was Mark Wysocki, and he was absolutely correct! I do miss my mistakes in my own proofreading. The autocorrect spell check on my computer sometimes does an injustice to make it worse. I also can make mistakes in forecasting. No one is perfect at predicting the future. All of the maps and information are accurate. The ‘wordy’ stuff can get sticky. There has been no editor who can check my work when I need it and have it ready to send out in a newsworthy timeline. Barbara Werner is a member of the web team that helps me maintain this site. She has taken it upon herself to edit typos when she is available. That could be AFTER you read this. I accept this and perhaps proves what you read is really from me… It’s part of my charm.