Eric the Red calls for near-normal snowfall ahead
One of our regular forecast contributors here, a professional Baltimore meteorologist we call Eric the Red, has posted his winter weather forecast for the season coming up. And like the AccuWeather.com forecast issued a few weeks ago, he expects another near-normal snow total this time around.
The 30-year average snow total for BWI-Marshall Airport is 20.2 inches. Last winter saw 14.4 inches.
Taking account of the La Nina conditions developing in the Pacific for the second winter season in a row, as well as a basket of other climate factors, Eric says the signs this year point to "near- to below-normal snowfall, just like last year, but not a snowless winter."
Looking for winters when similar conditions prevailed, he found these Baltimore analogs:
1950: 6.2 inches
1962: 19.6 inches
1974: 12.2 inches
1985: 15.6 inches
2008: 9.1 inches
"All these winters are consistent with the reasoning of near- to below-normal snow. In addition, La Nina is associated with near- to below-normal temperatures in the central and eastern U.S. and tends to be windy here, too," he said.
"The wild card is the NAO [North Atlantic Oscillation], which has been consistently negative (a blocking high over the northern Atlantic) for the past several winters ... and this can change everything. If and where the block(s) set up can throw a serious monkey wrench into the equation - think New England last year, our record-setting winter 2 years ago.
"A blocking high/negative NAO is almost essential for big snows around here, and forecasting this feature is not feasible beyond several weeks. Persistence implies that we will be dealing with it again, however."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will issue its winter weather forecast Thursday. Stay tuned.
(SUN PHOTO: Amy Davis, Jan. 26, 2011)