What’s ahead for winter in Middle Tennessee?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Seasonal forecasting can be a difficult task, especially in Middle Tennessee.

There are a lot of atmospheric patterns that can impact how cold temperatures get as well as how much snow and precipitation we see.

The Climate Prediction Center’s outlook for this upcoming December, January, and February is forecasting a 33 percent chance of above-average temperatures and equal chances for either above or below-average precipitation. 

We also spoke to Sam Shamburger, Lead Forecaster at the National Weather Service in Nashville about what to expect this winter season. According to Shamburger, it doesn’t look like we will be seeing an extreme winter.

“Right now it’s looking like we’re going to see an above-average winter as far as temperatures are concerned. That doesn’t mean it won’t get cold from time to time but overall it’s probably going to be warmer than normal. And we have seen that here the last few winters here in Middle Tennessee. And it’s also looking like we’ll see average amounts of precipitation, whether that’s rain or snow. And we know here in Middle Tennessee, it’s mostly going to be rain.”

One atmospheric phenomenon that often complicates winter forecast is the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

There are three phases of ENSO, El Nino, La Nina, and Neutral. In Middle Tennessee, El Nino conditions typically lead to a colder and snowier winter while La Nina conditions often lead to wetter and milder winters. The El Nino of this past year ended in August and the Neutral pattern that is currently in place is expected to persist through the winter season. 

With a Neutral pattern in place, there will be no strong leaning toward being unusually hot or cold, or unusually wet or dry.

Get the latest forecast at wkrn.com/forecast

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