SNOW LOVERS IT’S PAYBACK TIME! The trends are calling for more snow this winter and significant temperature swings.
This upcoming winter season will be dramatically different now that El Niño has stepped in! This will be the first time we have seen an El Niño pattern in the DMV in four years, and this will significantly change our weather pattern depending on how moderate or vigorous it gets.
The set-up for this winter: El Niño
This pattern will drive warmer-than-average temperatures for the northern tier of the continental United States. From December through February, NOAA predicts wetter-than-average conditions to the north of Alaska, portions of the West, the southern Plains, Southeast, Gulf Coast, and lower mid-Atlantic and drier-than-average states across the northern tier of the U.S., especially in the northern Rockies and High Plains and near the Great Lakes.
Temperatures-wise, the DMV will see above-average temperatures for this winter season. Looking back at the 2022/2023 season, we sat in a La Nina pattern, and Washington, D.C. only saw a minuscule 0.4″ of snowfall. Seasonable average is 13.7″, that’s 13.3″ below average!
So what does that mean for the DMV?
First, let’s start by talking about what an El Niño is. Usually, when we see an El Niño pattern, trade winds are weaker, and ocean temperatures in the Central and Eastern Tropical Pacific are warmer than usual. The warmer water then forces the Pacific jet stream to move south. With this shift, the northern U.S. sees drier and warmer conditions. But the southeast and Gulf Coast will see wetter and cooler conditions.
In the past, there have been 23 winters that were influenced by El Niño here in the DMV. With weak El Niño patterns, we saw above-average temperatures and precipitation across the area. With a more robust pattern, we have witnessed winters with warmer and wetter conditions, which could favor moderate to active storm systems along the south.
With a moderate El Niño, winters tend to be the coldest and snowiest, while more robust El Niño winters tend to be the warmest and have winter snowfall ranging from almost nothing to a midseason blizzard.
Our Chief Meteorologist, Janessa Webb, believes the DMV will see a blizzard sometime this season. As for the first snowfall, our weather team decided to make their predictions on when the first snow will fall in D.C.
Janessa’s prediction: January 23rd
Damon’s prediction: January 10th
Jackie’s prediction: December 30th
Scott’s prediction: December 2nd
Brittany’s prediction: January 5th
With major changes in the weather pattern this year, the DMV should be prepared for a winter weather roller coaster. This will be a fun pattern that will surely keep us on our toes. Winter officially starts December 21, 2023, at 10:28 pm. Enjoy!