Michael Steinberg, The Old Farmer’s Almanac meteorologist, is giving a sneak peek at winter’s weather forecast! Find out how the winter of 2016–17 will be for you!
As surely as summer turns to autumn, winter will follow on the day of the Winter Solstice. Here’s what to expect:
Overall Winter Weather Forecast 2016–2017
Solar Cycle 24, the smallest in more than 100 years, is well into its declining phase after reaching double peaks in late 2011 and early 2014. As solar activity continues to decline from these low peaks toward a minimum in early 2019, we expect temperatures in much of the nation to be much colder than last winter, but still above normal.
Graph: NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center
The winter of 2016–17 will feature above-normal snowfall in the northernmost states, along the spine of the Appalachians, and in northern Illinois, but below-normal snowfall in other areas.
With last winter’s strong El Niño being replaced by a moderate La Niña this winter, cold air masses will be able to build in Canada and move southward into the United States. Other important factors in the coming weather patterns include the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) in a continued warm phase, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) in a cold phase, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) in the early stages of its warm cycle. Oscillations are linked ocean–atmosphere patterns that influence the weather over periods of weeks to years.
United States Winter Weather Forecast 2016–2017
Across the United States (see map below), winter temperatures will be much colder than last winter—but still above normal—in much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation. The only exceptions will be in a swath from North Dakota to the Great Lakes and Maine, which will have below-normal temperatures. Most of the Pacific states will have below-normal temperatures, with above-normal temperatures in the Intermountain region and Desert Southwest.
Snowfall will be above normal from southern New England and western New York southwestward through the Appalachians; from eastern Minnesota eastward to the UP (Upper Peninsula) of Michigan and southward to St. Louis, Missouri; and from central North Dakota westward to the Pacific coast. Expect below-normal snowfall in most other places that normally receive snow.
Precipitation will be below normal across most of the southern two-thirds of the nation and above normal in the north, with the primary exceptions being above-normal rainfall in northern California, southern Oregon, the western Lower Lakes region, and Florida. With rainfall below normal in most of California, the drought there will continue.
Canada Winter Weather Forecast 2016–2017
Most of Canada (see map below) will have below-normal temperatures this winter, although Quebec and eastern Nunavut will have above-normal temperatures.
Snowfall will be greater than normal in most areas, the exceptions being Manitoba, portions of Saskatchewan, and the northern part of the nation, where snowfall will generally be below normal.
Detailed forecasts for specific regions of the United States and Canada appear in The 2017 Old Farmer’s Almanac and The 2017 Old Farmer’s Almanac Canadian Edition (each available in our online store and wherever books and magazines are sold in the United States and Canada, respectively).
Read some great folklore about winter weather. Plus, learn how to predict your winter weather with a woolly bear caterpillar.
Are you excited about these wintery predictions for your region? Let us know below!