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2015 -16 Snowfall Predictions


2015 -16 prediction: 150"

Average: 179.8"
Last season: 188.2"


2015 -16 prediction: 125"

Average: 118.2"
Last season: 119.7"

  Here is my take on how this coming winter's snowfall will pan out and
the reasoning behind my predictions.

One of the major factors for our winter weather is El Nino. El Nino this
year is one of the strongest on record. We tend have slightly milder winters
during an El Nino. Snowfall amounts have varied for each El Nino event.
The image below shows all the El Nino events. The dates in red are all the
strongest El Ninos that we have had since 1950. I inserted Syracuse
snowfall amounts for each of those strong events. You can see that the
amounts do vary, but tend to be close to the 118" average or below.

Also with El Nino years, there tends to be stronger east coast Nor'Easters.
Both the Blizzard of '66 and the Blizzard of '93 were during an El Nino season.
'66 was during a strong El Nino like this year. That storm dumped tons of
snow. But the seasonal total in Syracuse was 118". Oswego county did
get much more as they were hammered with lake effect snow behind the
Blizzard. The Blizzard of '93 pushed Syracuse to it's snowiest winter on
record. But that winter had a rather weak El Nino.

With warmer temperatures from El Nino, we may see less lake effect snow.
Some El Nino years, Syracuse had slightly higher than normal snowfall,
while Fulton had lower than normal snowfall. This is attributed to less
lake effect snow boosting up Fulton's totals. I am putting the snow totals
close to the winter of 1997-98. That year had a similar strength El Nino.

Another factor that helps decide our winter weather is the expanding snow
cover over Siberia during the month of October. Larger snow cover area
puts us in a cold and snowy weather pattern during the winter months.
But our snowfall all depends on how long this pattern persists. Last
year showed the largest snowfall extent in Siberia on record. Our
snowfall totals were right around average. But we had a brutal February
with cold and snow the whole month. This year the Siberian snow
cover isn't as large as last year but it is rather extensive. The big question
is will the strength of the El Nino be enough to limit the affects of the
cold snowy pattern that is set up by the extensive Siberian snow cover.

Overall I am thinking we will see average to slightly below average
snowfall for the season. We will see some cold periods. But with
the strength of this El Nino, I think our cold snaps won't be as long and
we will see periods of thawing.

Every winter is hard to predict what will happen. But this winter is
especially difficult due to many variables going on over our planet.
It will be interesting to see how this winter turns out.

But one thing is guaranteed. We will see snow falling here during the
winter in Central NY.

Updated: Tuesday October 20, 2015