Rusty's 2019-2020 Winter Outlook — UPDATED!

Published: Jan. 6, 2020 at 9:07 AM CST
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We just came off of a December that featured very little snow and warmer than average temps. Let's see how the numbers looked and check out what the rest of winter may have in store.

December’s temperatures ended up over 6 degrees above average making for a mild month but it wasn’t even a top 20 warm December. We ended up with 2.2” of snow for the month, a good 4” less than average.

While the month didn’t play out as expected, I still believe it will be the driver for the rest of our winter and determined just how our winter will play out as a whole.

The overall lack of snowfall in December likely now means the odds are tilted toward below-average snowfall for the season as a whole. It’s tough to get above that 26-34” (average) range when one-third of meteorological winter has so little snowfall. Of January or February, no one remaining month sticks out as being snowier than the other. Near or just below the average snowfall of 6” per month is what I expect each of those months.

Short term temperature trends into the middle of January suggest the western half of the country will be below average and the eastern half above. This is the temperatures outlook for the middle of the month (Jan. 13-19). We’ll likely trend closer to average (Low: 13; High:33) during this stretch in the metro.

As far as long term temperatures are concerned, I still believe that January and February will be somewhat mild as a whole especially without a thick snowpack built up from December. There will still be bouts of cold or arctic air but the duration of those is likely to be fairly short. The second half of January does have the potential for arctic air to dislodge and move south if the polar vortex were to weaken some. Overall, above average temps appear to be the story for January with temps closer to or just below average for February. February will likely be the colder of the two months. The pattern does favor frequent temperature swings as we get grazed by bouts of Arctic air. The center of many, but not all, of the arctic air masses likely steer to our east, though, and are much more of a concern for the eastern half of the country when they do dive in from the north.

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