With temps lowering and parts of the metro area having received their first snowflakes of the season, questions regarding the outlook for the upcoming winter have become increasingly numerous. The official Winter Outlook for 2022-23 has not been released by the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), but current projections covering December-February are posted.

Current forecasts suggest temps in the Chicago area will average near the seasonal normal of 26.4 degrees, while precipitation is expected to be above the normal of 5.77″. In support of these forecasts the CPC presents a couple of factors (among many other predictors). La Nina conditions currently exist in the equatorial Pacific as shown by the observation of abnormally cold water from the Peruvian coast to the western Pacific. The La Nina cycle is forecast to persist into January before trending more to a thermally neutral pattern. Meanwhile, abnormally warm water has been observed across the North Pacific from the Gulf of Alaska to Japan. An ocean “hotspot” was identified south of the westernmost Aleutians. Both of these features are likely to be major factors in how thw upcoming winter plays out across North America. In particular, the “blob” of heat in the North Pacific may induce more frequent outbreaks of polar air into central and eastern parts of the continent. At present, much below normal temps are forecast into parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota while the Chicago area lies in a region of transition to much above normal temps along the East Coast.

Precipitation forecasts favor above normal totals from the Great Lakes through the Ohio Valley which seems plausible given the location and orientation of above and below normal temperature areas. Storm tracks tend to parallel the transition zone (near normal temps) between temperature extremes. At present this are runs from the southern Plains to the Great Lakes.

To summarize, at present it looks like our winter temps will average near normal, with above normal totals of precipitation and snowfall.





ONGOING LA NIÑA

Sea surface temperature anomaly—October 16, 2022

Abnormally cold water continues to be observed over the equatorial Pacific. These La Niña conditions are forecast to persist into December