Winter weather outlook calls for above-average precipitation - WKRN News 2

Winter weather outlook calls for above-average precipitation

Temperature outlook for Dec-Jan-Feb Temperature outlook for Dec-Jan-Feb
Precipitation outlook for Dec-Jan-Feb Precipitation outlook for Dec-Jan-Feb
Historical values for North Atlantic Oscillation Historical values for North Atlantic Oscillation
Historical values for Pacific Decadal Oscillation Historical values for Pacific Decadal Oscillation

Before looking ahead to Tennessee's winter outlook, we should reflect on our long, hot summer.

In June and July, there were nine 100 degree days in Nashville. Most impressively, the city set an all-time record high temperature on June 29 when it hit 109 degrees.

As we look ahead to the winter months, it is important to note there is not a direct correlation between a hot summer and a cold, snowy winter.

 In 2007 there was extreme drought and a total of 16 100 degree days.

The winter of 2007-08 only yielded 2 inches of snow in Nashville.

Nationwide, this summer's drought was the worst since the summer of 1954. For the record, the winter of 1954-55 brought 8 inches of snow to Nashville.

The official Climate Prediction Center forecast calls for average temperatures in Tennessee this December, January and February (meteorological winter).

Their forecast mentions a 40% chance of above-average precipitation for the Mid-South, which should translate to a better chance of snowfall.

Nashville's News 2's Justin Bruce believes Music City will see above-average snowfall this winter.

In Nashville, the average winter snow is 6 inches, which is based on observed weather between 1980-2010.

Bruce said he predicts around nine inches of snowfall or more to fall at the Nashville International Airport where the city's official weather records are kept.

Bruce also predicts that Nashville's mean temperature for the months of December, January and February will end up at or below average.

There are a few long-range weather pattern predictors that give Bruce said give him confidence in his call for 9 inches or more of snow.

Nashville saw 12 inches in the winter of 2010-11, most of which fell in December and January. We even enjoyed a white Christmas!

A climate factor called the North Atlantic Oscillation was negative that winter. That indicates higher-than-average pressure across Greenland and the North Atlantic, which causes deeper plunges of cold air across the eastern United States. While the NAO has been positive this November, all the computer models suggest it will flip back to negative to end the month and stay that way through early December.

This could allow for a few flirtations with winter weather before Christmas.

Another climate factor monitored by meteorologists is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

This is a long-range value that changes every two to three decades and is related to the temperature regime of the Pacific Ocean.

In the 1950s through 1970s, the PDO was negative. Nashville enjoyed several snowy winters during those decades, which averaged out to approximately 12 inches per season.

Between 1980 to 2010, the PDO flipped to a positive value and Nashville saw less snow (roughly 5 inches per season).

As a matter of fact, 13 of the past 15 winters in Nashville brought below average snowfall.

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation is currently in a transition process and is anticipated by many meteorologists to remain negative for the next few decades, which bodes well for snowfall in Nashville as we look ahead.

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