Climate Prediction Center Winter Forecast

Bill's Blog

The maps above are the current (they are updated monthly) winter forecast (Dec., Jan. Feb.) from the Climate Prediction Center. They have almost the entire country in the higher probability for warmer than average temperatures for the 3 winter months. They have an area of equal chance of above or below average temperatures from Michigan to the Ohio River and west to Eastern Montana. There is not a single pixel of blue on the map (indicating a higher probability of cooler than average temperatures).

The few of you that may follow the long-range climate forecasts from CPC here know that CPC skews a bit warm in their long-range outlooks. You can go to this page and look at the “more outlooks” in the left column. They have a small amount of blue on 3 maps from Jan-Mar. to Mar. – May. Other than that, there are no areas of blue on all the rest of the maps…not even a small area where temperatures are expected to be cooler than average.

You can go here to see what they forecast for last winter.

Winter Forecast issued in November for the winter of 2018-19 from CPC

This was the winter forecast from CPC for last winter (2018-19). This forecast was issued in November, not October. Note the areas that were forecast to be warm (in red) and near average (in white). They don’t have a single pixel of blue.

Verification of the winter temperature of 2018-19 from the CPC website

This is the verification map from the CPC website for the winter of 2018-19. Where CPC had forecast it to be warm, we had near to below average temperatures and where they expected near (or equal chance) normal temperatures, it was warmer than average. Now, I would not automatically accept the validity of the color of every square of the map above. I checked Grand Forks, North Dakota. On the map above, it’s gray (near normal). The actual numbers for Grand Forks for last winter were: December 3.6 degrees above average, January 4.7 degrees colder than average and February was a bone-chilling 14.6 degrees colder than average. Add up the 3 months and you get 5.2 degrees colder than average for the combined three months. So…that square of NE North Dakota should be blue instead of gray. I haven’t checked, but I’m certain that gray square in SW Florida (Naples/Fort Myers) should be red…it was a really warm winter in Florida.

November 2018 precipitation forecast for Dec.2018 thru Feb. 2019

This was the November precipitation forecast from CPC for the winter of 2018-19. They forecast above average precipitation in the southern U.S. and below average precipitation in the Great Lakes.

This was the forecast verification from the CPC website

This is the forecast verification for the winter months (Dec. 2018 – Feb. 2019). It was a wet 3 months over much of the country. Grand Rapids had 81.3″ of snow, a little above the recent average of 74.9″.

We’re working on our own winter forecast. Some of the factors we look at our similar to last winter.

Snow Cover as of Wed. Oct. 23

This map shows snow on the ground from Canada across into Siberia. You can see it’s already starting to build up.

Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice as of Oct. 1

The map above is Northern Hemisphere sea ice…the extent is below the 10-year average, but above the low year of 2012. This map is as of Oct. 1.

Northern Hemisphere snowcover anomaly

I snipped this from the Rutgers (University) Snow Lab page. It is only through month 9 (Sept.), but it shows the area with snowcover in the Northern Hemisphere was pretty close to the mean area (in thousands of sq. km.).

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