The winter season is upon us, DMV, and our weather team wants to prepare you for the 2022-2023 winter season! We have already seen our first wintery mix across the region, with snow already in place across sections west of I-81. With that being said, our team has put out our predictions of what type of weather pattern we will sit in, who gets snow and who doesn’t, will this year be the year of a white Christmas, and of course, when Chief Meteorologist Janessa Webb thinks we will see our first official snowfall in D.C. along with how many winter storms, we could expect. Let’s dive into it!

The set-up for this winter:La Niña

This year we will sit in a La Niña pattern! It returns for the third consecutive winter season, driving warmer-than-average temperatures for the Southwest, along the Gulf Coast, and the eastern seaboard. La Niña is a climate pattern that describes the cooling of surface ocean waters along the tropical west coast of South America. It is considered the counterpart to El Niño, characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean. This pattern will not just be across our area but the entire United States. During the last few years, the DMV has sat under a La Niña pattern; temperatures were slightly average, and winter precipitation was slightly below average. 

La Niña explainer
La Niña explainer
La Niña explainer

Our team thinks we will have a slight shift this year as the winter season slowly approaches the DMV.

NAO Pattern

The North Atlantic Oscillation is a large-scale atmospheric pressure see-saw in the North Atlantic region. Changes in local weather patterns such as temperature, rainfall, and wind strength/direction are strongly influenced by changing local pressure patterns. Low pressure over the UK is accompanied by unsettled conditions with a tendency to form clouds, while high pressure is associated with more settled conditions and clearer skies.

Credits: Climate Prediction Center

Positive NAO phase

The positive NAO phase represents a stronger than usual difference in pressure between the two regions. Winds from the west dominate, bringing with them warm air, while the position of the jet stream enables stronger and more frequent storms to travel across the Atlantic. These support mild, stormy, and wet winter conditions in northern Europe and the eastern US. Conversely, northern Canada, Greenland, and southern Europe are prone to cold and dry winter conditions.

The DC News Now Weather Team Winter Prediction:

Precipitation Forecast

Our weather team is predicting an above-average to about-average snowfall forecast. In the past years across the DMV, we have sat under a La Niña pattern; precipitation amounts across the area were above average. Think back to the blizzard of 1996; a weak La Nina pattern was the trend across the US, and we saw above-normal snowfall for the season. During that blizzard, the Washington D.C./ Baltimore area received 17.1 inches of snow. Another big event that occurred during a La Nina event was the winter of 1973, when we saw 10.2 inches of snow.

Ok, now let’s go into our weather team’s prediction for the US.

DC News Now Weather Team Precipitation Outlook

We took the time to do some research and put our prediction together for the DMV. During a La Niña event, we see above-average precipitation to our northwest. Now, what does that mean for us here in the DMV? Our weather team predicts we will see average to slightly above-average precipitation as we head into this winter season.

First snowfall

So we have already seen our first snowfall here in the DMV. And that was in November! Not everyone saw the snow, but our friends along the Allegheny Front and just west received some snow.

When can we expect the first flakes to make their way across the metro area? Chief Meteorologist Janessa Webb believes December 12th will be the first time flakes will fall in the District.

Temperature Forecast 

DC News Now Weather Team Temperature Outlook

La Niña tends to bring cooler temperatures to the northwest and warmer temperatures to the south. The DMV is a bit unique when it comes down to this because we sit in the middle of this pattern. For this winter season, our team believes that we will see normal to slightly below-normal temperatures.

White Christmas

The last time it snowed on Christmas in D.C. was 2002, and we got less than an inch. However, we listed a few snowy Christmas below:

WHITE CHRISTMAS STATS

1… 1962 … 5.4 INCHES

 2… 1909 … 4.5 INCHES

 3… 1969 … 4.3 INCHES

 4… 1902 … 1.0 INCHES

 5… 1935 … 0.6 INCHES

 6… 1892 … 0.5 INCHES

In the past 127 years, it’s snowed on Christmas in D.C. less than ten times. In fact, in 2009, D.C. actually had snow on the ground, but it didn’t snow directly on that day. So I know many of you guys are asking the million-dollar question….. will we have a white Christmas this year? Well, our Chief Meteorologist Janessa Webb predicts we will not see a white Christmas, with the first She also believes for this season, the DMV will see at least one big snow event and three moderate events.

We hope you enjoy the full 90 days of winter DMV!