Winter Forecasts Mixed, Mixed Precipitation Likely Result

But “Hurricane” Schwartz Predicts Heavy Snow
By Rick Mellerup | Dec 18, 2019

Surf City — The long-range 2019-2020 winter weather forecasts for the Mid-Atlantic region are all over the map.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center calls for a warmer than normal December through February period for the entire Eastern seaboard. Indeed, NOAA forecasters said that “no part of the U.S. is favored to have below-average temperatures this winter.” The Climate Prediction Center also forecasts wetter than average conditions for parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including the Garden State.

Long-range forecasters for IBM’s The Weather Company have New Jersey cut in half on their map, with the northern part of the state having a “near or slightly below average” winter temperature-wise while the south part will have “near or slightly above average” temps. Hmm, Ocean County is sort of in the middle of the state, so can we go with average?

AccuWeather said above-normal snowfall could be in store for areas from New York City to Boston while “cities farther south, including Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, will be more likely to get a mix of rain and snow.” AccuWeather didn’t mention New Jersey, or even Philadelphia, but considering we’re in between NYC and Washington, it seems pretty easy to predict mixed precipitation, which is exactly what the company’s long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok settled on for the entire region.

“Whether or not it’s snowstorms, ice storms or mixed events, I do feel this is going to be an active year for the Northeast,” he said.

Let’s try to zoom in on the Philadelphia/Jersey Shore area. Kate Bilo of CBS Philly called for above average temperatures for December but below average temps for January, and “well below average” temperatures in February. Bilo also said the area’s snowfall will be near or slightly above average.

“We will have several decent snows,” she said, “but also issues with mixing and changing over to rain, especially around the city and points south.

The CBS Philly forecasters looked at two “analog years” – previous years that had similar conditions as this year when it was time to make a winter forecast – and saw that both 1980-81 and 2014-15 featured cold temperatures. The former had below average snowfall while the latter had near average amounts of the white stuff.

So the CBS crew is pretty confident that “there’s a good chance the setup this year will be favorable to prolonged arctic cold spells.” And Bilo added that “if a moisture-rich storm does happen to arrive during one of the aforementioned arctic cold snaps, watch out.”

Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz has been making long-range winter forecasts for NBC10 in Philadelphia and the Shore for over two decades. He didn’t hedge this fall when he made forecast 22.

“Let’s cut to the chase. We’re in for a cold and snowy winter.”

Indeed, Schwartz is calling for a colder than normal winter and a snowier than normal winter with February being the coldest and snowiest (“by far”) month, including two major snowstorms. He predicts 30 to 40 inches of snow for the entire winter season in the City of Brotherly Love and 28 inches in Atlantic City. The “normal” for Philly is 22.4 inches while A.C. normally checks in with about 13 inches of snow in the city and 16.5 at the airport.

Schwartz talked about a number of conditions that led to his forecast.

El Niños, he said, normally cover much of the tropical Pacific. This year’s “Modoki Niño” concentrates the most warmth in the central tropical Pacific. Even a weak to moderate Modoki Niño favors a colder and snowier than normal winter in these parts.

Toss in a Quasi-Biennial Oscillation that is favoring more snow for our area, a North Pacific “blob” that is positioned to force arctic air into the eastern U.S., Eurasion snow in October, especially in the latter part of the month, and solar activity that favors more cold and snow. It could be one nasty winter indeed.

“Virtually EVERY important factor that I look at tilts toward more cold and snow this winter,” wrote Schwartz. “Believe it or not, it’s possible I could be too conservative with this forecast – not enough snow or cold.”

Rick Mellerup


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