What to Know
- A weak La Niña (cooling in the Pacific) and a high SAI (snow advance index) suggest a bad winter
- No significant Greenland Block this year, a pressure system that could potentially slow or block coastal storms.
- Brad is forecasting 40 inches in New Haven, 65 inches in Hartford, and around 85 inches in the hills.
Chief Meteorologist Brad Field is forecasting a snowy winter this year, with colder temperatures than last season and above average snowfall.
How does he do it? By looking at global patterns.
Global patterns this season are drastically different from this time last year. In 2015, a strong El Niño, which brings warm water in the Equatorial Pacific, kept temperatures relatively warm and Connecticut saw below average snowfall.
This year, a weak La Niña pattern, or a cooling trend in those Pacific waters, means just the opposite. Typically, those cold waters in the Pacific mean colder temperatures and storms into Connecticut. The northern portion of the Jetstream is most active in weak La Niña, which favors clippers, or low pressure areas which causes sudden temperature drops an sharp winds, ideal for storms.
The winter of ’95-’96 was a weak La Niña year and brought the snowiest winter in 111 years of Connecticut weather-keeping. The state saw 10 feet of snow in the interior and even more in the hill towns.
Another global trend to consider is the SAI, or snow advance index. Early season snow falling in Siberia creates snow fields and high pressure. Empirical evidence suggests the higher the SAI, the worse the winter in our state. This year, the SAI is at a record high.
We’re also not seeing a significant Greenland Block this year, a pressure system that could potentially slow or block coastal storms.
So what’s the bottom line? Brad is forecasting temperatures colder than last year but around average for the season. However, snowfall is expected to be high.
An average winter in Connecticut brings around 24 inches of snow in the New Haven area, 42 inches in the interior Hartford area, and a little over 60 inches in the hills. Brad is forecasting 40 inches in New Haven, 65 inches in the Hartford area, and around 85 inches in the hills throughout the season.