As it seems chilly weather is finally here to stay, the winter season is upon us, but it’s hard to predict what exactly this year’s winter may bring to Missouri.
Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency Director Dave Clippert said the winter outlook (December through February) is a 50 percent chance of above or below normal precipitation and a 50 percent chance of above or below normal temperatures — not exactly a helpful prediction.
“With winter weather, any farther out than about 10 days it’s just a guess at that point. Even at the 10-day point, with snow or ice it’s a matter of degrees,” Clippert said. “If a winter storm coming our way shifts north or south, it changes the whole mix. It’s the same with temperature, if it goes up one or two or down one or two degrees, it could make a big difference in what you get.”
While winter weather can be “hard to get a handle on,” Clippert said the 2015-16 winter season in Missouri should be similar to what the area experienced last year, although that “could change pretty quickly.” Clippert said citizens should expect the usual snow and cold temperatures.
“Late fall is shaping up to be pretty good, with the exception of (Thanksgiving’s rain),” Clippert said.
According to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) website, the national winter outlook shows “cooler and wetter weather in Southern Tier states with above-average temperatures most likely in the West and across the Northern Tier.”
NOAA’s 2015-16 winter outlook also includes a strong influence on the position of the Pacific jet stream from El Niño, which is expected to be among the strongest on record.
“A strong El Niño is in place and should exert a strong influence over our weather this winter,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said in the website article. “While temperature and precipitation impacts associated with El Niño are favored, El Niño is not the only player. Cold-air outbreaks and snow storms will likely occur at times this winter. However, the frequency, number and intensity of these events cannot be predicted on a seasonal timescale.”
However, Clippert said he didn’t think that influence would reach Missouri.
“I don’t think El Niño will affect us very much, but it will affect some other states,” he said. “From what I understand, we shouldn’t get very many of those arctic freezes coming our way this year.”
Clippert recommended citizens stay informed as weather forecasts progress each week, as forecasts can be “all over the board” from news station to news station.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.