The StormTracker 2 weather team is calling for a snowier than average winter with typically cold temperatures. Here's our official forecast:
Snowfall for Utica: 100-120" (Average 95")
Average December-February Temperature: 24° (average 24°)
How do we come up with this forecast?
Seasonal forecasts are generally based on similar past years. This is called analog forecasting. In 2019, computer models are getting much, much better at seasonal projections (though we still have a long way to go). We're taking a blend of these different ideas to give you our best guess at the upcoming winter. Yes, we said guess, because what we do here is very, very different than the forecasts we do on a daily basis. We can't predict specific events, but we can get an idea on trends.
The trends point to an active winter
El Nino is in a very weak to neutral phase, meaning it won't be the main driver in our local weather. Our main driver will be the frequency of cold outbreaks from the arctic. While this is difficult to predict, we do know that cold outbreaks tend to last longer in weak El Nino Patterns. This is also noted in the previous "weak El Nino" years:
Snow tends to be plentiful in previous similar winters. In fact, the second snowiest winter happened in a weak El Nino pattern (1992-1993).
Great Lakes Temperature
We're always closely tracking the temperature of the Great Lakes heading into the fall. A warmer lake temperature tends to favor more lake effect snow and a longer lake effect snow season. Cooler than average temperatures lead to less snowfall and a shorter lake effect season. The temperature of the Great Lakes is very close to average at this point in the late fall. This means the Great Lakes should produce a typical snowy season for our area.
One last important note
Forecasting the weather for an entire season is still a very new science and we don't encourage anyone to make serious decisions on this prediction. The truth is it's very difficult to know how the winter will truly play out. We're making some educated guesses on where the prevailing jet stream will set up. We are picking out the most likely scenario based on past years. They don't all play out the same way.