Barb, Tyler and I had the privilege of visiting the new NOAA weather center in Albany today. Even though they were preoccupied with the approaching storm, they did offer some insight on what they expect this winter. Keep in mind that the National Weather Service’s definition of winter is for the calendar season December 21 to March 20, while you and I know it can snow anytime between now and the end of April. In fact, before we left, they were looking at the possibility of snow in the Tug Hill and western Adirondacks on the back end of the approaching storm.
…a “normal” winter, “like last winter.”
The team of meteorologists all seemed to agree that this will be a “normal” winter, “like last winter” at least here in the Albany area. There will be “normal” amounts of precipitation and “normal” temperatures. Further, they point out that Lake Ontario and Lake Erie are warmer than normal right now, meaning enhanced lake effect precipitation most noticeable in the Tug Hill, northern Adirondacks and St Lawrence Valley. They would not make any prediction on the amount of snow other than to say that “normal” winter average temperature is about 27o. You and I know that temperatures are consistently one or two degrees cooler north of the Mohawk than they are in Albany (specifically at SUNY-IT). They added that “normally” we are more likely to have snow early in the season and late in the season.
Will this coming storm shepherd in colder weather? No, it will probably not result in a dramatic drop in temperatures, but more “normal” temperatures will follow. This is likely to go into the record books as the 5th warmest October on record.
The team also promised an update on the winter outlook on November 16. Another teaser: two of the younger members of the team promised to publish a video of a weather balloon launch on Youtube. A launch occurs from the roof of the building at SUNY-IT twice daily, sometimes more frequently, if needed.
If you ever get an invitation to visit NOAA’s weather center, take them up on it! You don’t have to be a weather geek to really appreciate the opportunity.