FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – When the Live Doppler 15 Fury Storm Team meteorologists prepared their thoughts on the upcoming winter season, they were presented with an interesting situation to make their predictions. Instead of being in an El Niño or La Niña year, we’re currently in what’s called a neutral phase.
Often, the presence of an El Niño or La Niña pattern can help provide guidance on how the jet stream and various weather systems may track during the winter months, affecting our temperature and precipitation trends. [If you’re wondering, the el niño (la niña) pattern occurs when the water warms (cools) off the coast of South America near the equator.]
So, without either of these patterns to track, the Live Doppler 15 Fury Storm Team analyzed other atmospheric factors, along with historical trends to assemble the forecast for the winter season.
Playing a role in this year’s winter forecast is the much warmer than average water off the coast of Alaska. Like we’ve seen in recent winters, this warm water help supports a pattern of warmer air surging north in this part of the globe, which forces plenty of cold air down across the Midwest, at times.
When it comes to precipitation, we’ve had plenty of moisture recently and it’s likely that, without an El Niño or La Niña, to change things up, we’ll continue getting our fair share of precipitation, where dry areas are likely to stay on the dry side.
These factors lead us to call for temperatures near or below average for the season ahead and precipitation – rain, snow, and ice – that reach above average levels.
Historically, when our region has been in a neutral phase, we’ve had below average temperatures 90% of the time and above average precipitation 92% of the time. But, when it comes to just snow totals, things change slightly. It’s more common in winters like these to end up below average in the snow department. 33.5″ is our yearly average in Fort Wayne and, through December 3rd, we’d already picked up 7.0″ of that total. It’s possible that one of the contributing factors to a majority of Fort Wayne winters during a neutral phase ending up less snowy than average is the fact that the colder weather that comes with them can hold less moisture and, thus, produce less snow.
The Live Doppler 15 Fury Storm Team Winter Outlook was put together with forecast thoughts from all of the team’s meteorologists, including Nicholas Ferreri, Greg Shoup, Adam Solarczyk, and Joe Strus. The team also sends thanks to the National Weather Service Northern Indiana office for sharing historical data and their perspective on the upcoming winter.