The 2019 winter season is right around the corner. NOAA, the National Oceanic, and Atmospheric Administration released a winter outlook for December through February.
This year’s outlook calls for a greater probability of above-normal temperatures. Precipitation is expected to be normal.
You may be thinking 70s and sunny all winter long, but that is not going to be the case.
Meteorologist Steven Rowley, with the National Weather Service, has a reality check for those keeping the flip flops out for the winter.
“Don’t hang too much expectation on the overall forecast. I think what that tells us, is it’s probably not going to be a record cold or snowy or icy winter. But we can always have those short periods embedded within that longer period where we could get some intense conditions and we need to be prepared for that.”
Two years ago the Lowcountry experienced one the snowiest events in history with ice and snow falling January 3 of 2018.
That year the forecast was for temperatures slightly above normal and below-normal precipitation.
While we felt extreme cold to start the month of January, the overall temperatures turned out to be just slightly below normal.
The same case for 2014, January brought not one, but two ice storms to the Lowcountry but the overall month turned out to be only slightly below normal.
“This is a big picture, big picture very educated guess at what the overall condition are going to be for December, January, and February.”
Now it’s not uncommon to get winter precipitation in the Lowcountry. We need two ingredients to combine for winter weather to happen, cold temperatures and precipitation.
“Average snowfall here is less than an inch, so we don’t typically get accumulating snow. But it isn’t zero.”
Bottom line, while long term winter weather outlook is helpful to get a rough idea of what to expect during the winter months, we will track daily weather elements to create timely local forecasts. Next week, I’m diving into the science behind how NOAA creates long-term outlooks. For Storm Team 2 I’m Meteorologist Arielle Whooley