Pasadena, MD – It’s all about the NAO. The winter of 2013-2014 as past winters will depend on the NAO. For those not familiar with the NAO it stands for North Atlantic Oscillation, which is a measure of the pressure differences between the Icelandic Low and the Azores high. NAO matters all year round but it makes or breaks winter storms. Here on the east coast generally a negative NAO means colder and potentially snowier while positive can mean warmer and ridges. Since Mid October the NAO has been positive and is
forecast to either be neutral or slightly positive through the middle of November and maybe beyond. Keep in mind for the most part this usually signal a zonal flow (west to east) or times of ridge flow on the east coast, meaning times of warmth and sometimes dull weather. Below is the NAO.
There are other factors that also must be taken into account for forecasting winter:
EL NINO/LA NINA FACTOR – There is no pattern or clear-cut answer if this will be an EL NINO or LA NINA year. In general, EL NINO winters usually means more snow here on the east coast while LA NINA usually means less snow. Again there is no real pattern here
Pacific Ocean – Clues to the upcoming winter can usually be found here over the years that have shown warming over the central pacific otherwise known as ENSO region 3.4 favor cold and snow in the east more times than not. Below is the forecast of the ENSO region as you can see it is showing just that,
Taking all the above into account here is how I see the upcoming winter shaping up for Central Maryland.
The winter will start off with normal temps or even a bit mild. As the winter season goes on the NAO should begin to tilt a bit more negative which will increase the storm chances here on the east coast in the month of January. This will last until mid March. The second half of winter looks to be the best time for snowfall for central Maryland.
In short, I expect snowfall to be near normal snowfall (in Baltimore that is about 20 inches) with near normal temps for this winter. I don’t think we will be shut out this year.