Warmer than average temperatures and below average snowfall are in the forecast this winter, but I do think we will have more winter weather and snow this season than last year.
Since the blizzard of 2016 – the fourth biggest snowfall on record with more than 17 inches of snow at Reagan National Airport and well over 2 feet in many areas – four of the next five winters have been below average for snowfall.
Last year we got just 5.4 inches with the biggest snowfall of 2.3 inches.
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Last year was a La Niña year and we are looking at something similar this year as cooler water once again builds in the central Pacific Ocean. This year looks like a moderate La Niña, which can mean winter storms.
There also was a La Niña in 1996, when the area saw 40 inches of snow.
I am also looking at the north Pacific, just south of Alaska. That water is also cooler this year.
Siberian snow cover is also something we look at, and this year it is below average.
Off our coastline, we have what has now become a very warm Atlantic Ocean. That makes it hard for storms to bring snow, but if there is enough cold air, that would help produce more snow.
I expect December to be well above average for temperatures with almost no snowfall -- bad news if you’re dreaming of a white Christmas.
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January is looking to be below average for temperatures, and this is the month I think we see most of our storms, especially in the last two weeks of the month. This is where I think we have the best chance at cold and snow.
Early February should also start rather cold and stormy, but the month looks to end on the warmer side.
March is looking to be above average as well, which means less snowfall.
So, for those snow totals, expect more snow than we've had the past two winters. Expect 7-13 inches in the D.C. metro area and along the Interstate 95 corridor.
Southern Maryland usually gets less snow and could see 4-8 inches.
More is expected to the north and west, with 12-18 inches in areas like Leesburg, Dulles International Airport and Gaithersburg.
Further north and west, expect 20-30 inches or more in Frederick, West Virginia and along the Interstate 81 corridor.
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