In the Pacific Ocean, there is a not an El Nino nor a La Nina, the Central Pacific Ocean is currently neutral. However, there is a warmer-than-average area of water just south of Alaska that may end up forming the North Pacific Ridge, which is a jetstream pattern than steers the jetstream northward toward Alaska, then southeast toward the Great Lakes.
That should give us here in Kansas occasional cold snaps, but not a consistently cold winter. That fits in well with the pattern of the current set-up of the North Atlantic Oscillation. This is where the Icelandic Low and the Azores High help to funnel the jestream quickly across the Atlantic and keep systems moving quickly.
You might be wondering, though, where all the really cold air has been for most of the fall. The answer is not found in North America, but in Siberia where temperatures have been very cold and the snowpack has grown significantly. This will continue to be the source of the cold weather that will then follow the path up and over the North Pacific Ridge into North America.
Locally, looking at temperature and precipitation trends since 2013, we were in a normal temperature range, but we’ve been in a trend of warmer-than-average temperatures for most months this year. The wetter-than-average weather has also continued most of the year. There is no reason to think that this pattern will change much heading into winter.
So, to boil it all down, a slightly above average winter temperature-wise with occasional cold snaps and near average total precipitation. Unless we see a major storm take a path right over the top of us, we’ll likely come in with near 20″ of snow for the winter season. This is also a pattern that could yield one or two ice events, especially early in the season. Overall, a pretty normal winter ahead of us with lots of ups and downs in the temperatures.
– Storm Track Chief Meteorologist Matt Miller