After a year of unprecedented warmth — both during the winter and summer months — the great debate over whether or not Old Man Winter will return with a vengeance is on.
Last winter was the fourth warmest for the contiguous 48 since record keeping began in 1895, with 24 states experiencing below-normal precipitation. In fact, California experienced its second driest winter ever. In only 10 states–chiefly across the nation’s midsection– was winter precipitation above normal.
The situation became critical this past spring and summer with broiling hot temperatures across much of the country and the most severe drought conditions the nation has seen in more than 50 years.
For the coming season, we’re predicting that winter will return to some — but not all — areas. We think it will be a “winter of contraries, as if Old Man Winter were cutting the country in half. The eastern half of the country will see plenty of cold and snow. The western half will experience relatively warm and dry conditions. In other words, as in the political arena, the climate this winter will render us a nation divided.
We predict that real winter weather will return to areas from the Great Lakes into the Northeast. Most eastern states — as far south as the Gulf Coast — will see snowier than normal conditions and cooler temperatures.
We are “red flagging” February 12—15 and March 20—23 for major coastal storms along the Atlantic seaboard; storms bringing strong winds and heavy precipitation.
But on the other side of the country, winter will continue its hiatus for another year. The forecast for west of the Continental Divide — the Pacific Northwest, desert Southwest, Pacific Coast — calls for mild temperatures and below-normal precipitation.
For much of the drought-stricken prairie region, an average amount of winter precipitation will bring long awaited relief.
Take a look at the map below to see what we’re predicting for your region, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of the 2013 Farmers’ Almanac for a more detailed long range forecast: