WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Ask The Mets: Will It Snow?

Posted December 23, 2006 1:14 p.m. EST
Updated December 23, 2006 7:38 p.m. EST

Will it snow this winter? Thank you!     Diana

MIKE MOSS SAYS:    Diana, I wish there was a way to provide a satisfying answer to that question. Unfortunately, the best is answer is probably that it will likely snow in our area at some point during the winter, but what we can't nail down with any confidence ahead of time is "how much, and when" which are obviously pretty important issues. With a modest El Nino pattern in place over the Pacific, long range outlooks for the winter place our area in a region that is likely to end up near normal to a little above normal temperature-wise, and with about an equal chance of above normal, normal or below normal temperatures. These kinds of generic long term averages do not give us a lot to go on in terms of figuring out more than a few days in advance whether the particular combination of simultaneous cold air and moisture availability, together with an appropriate source of lift, will all come together in the right balance for snow in our region, as opposed to periods of cool rain, sleet, freezing rain, or dry periods. The bottom line is, we could end up with a storm or two that lay down significant snow and ice, or it could be a season where we miss out. There just isn't a compelling set of reasons to lead us to one conclusion or the other.