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2016 -17 Snowfall Predictions



  Fulton:

2016 -17 Snow Amount:
Likely Range: 200 - 240"
My prediction: 210"


Average: 180.2"
Last season: 106.2"

Syracuse:

2016 -17 Snow Amount:
Likely Range: 130 - 170"
My prediction: 150"


Average: 117.6"
Last season: 79.6"




  Below are my thoughts for the 2016-17 winter season. By using data from
previous winter seasons, I try to make my best forecast of how this season
pans out.

Last season I thought we would see a little below normal snowfall. But
snowfall amounts were way below normal. I think this mostly was due
to the very strong El Nino that was going on in the Pacific Ocean. The
El Nino which is the warming of the water off of South America, has gone
away. The waters off of South America are now a bit on the cooler side. The
cooling water is known as La Nina. Now this La Nina is forecast to remain
very weak or non-existent and the water would just be at average temperatures.
So I took a look at winters with a weak La Nina or neutral conditions. With
this condition, our snowfall amounts tend to be near or just above average
for the winter.

The other main driver for our winter conditions is an expanding snow pack
over Siberia during the month of October. Research done by Judah Cohen,
a climatologist from MIT, has shown that when the snow cover increases a
lot over Siberia and Eurasia, we tend to have colder and snowier winter patterns.
What he has found out, is that with this large snowpack, a strong area of high
pressure forms in this area. This high pressure weakens the polar vortex.
A weakening of the polar vortex which can also be referred to as Negative
Arctic Oscillation (NAO), leads to pieces of the polar vortex to break off, which
sends colder air down to where we are in the northeast U.S. The snowpack
this October is above average and still expanding as of October 21st. I did
look at our snowfall for here in Central NY on years that have similar Siberian
snowpack. And most of the time we do have higher than average snowfall for
the winter season. Most of this extra snow is from lake effect snowfall,
as these more numerous bouts of colder air cross the lake, we tend to see
greater snowfall.

So with all this in mind, I am calling for a snowier than average season for both
Fulton, NY and Syracuse NY. We will definitely see more snow than last year,
but that won't be hard to beat. Our temperatures will probably be average for
most of the winter. But there will be some cold spells. We have not seen
many lake effect snow storms the past couple of winters. But I think we will see
more lake effect snow this year. There are also signs that by mid to late
November we could start getting some decent snowfall. So with an early
start, we should be off and running on our snow totals. Like most winters,
we should see our heaviest snow during January and possibly February. We
have been lucky the past couple of years as our snow is just about gone in
March. We may not get as lucky this year. Just a typical Central NY winter ahead.

So this is my best guess for our upcoming winter. We will see if my predictions
hold up. Enjoy the snow if you can. Just a few months and it will be spring again.




Updated: Saturday October 22, 2016


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