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Eye On Weather: 2014 Winter Forecast

BOSTON (CBS) – So how much cold and snow can we expect this winter?

Last winter it looked like we were going to get off the hook and then – boom! – February and March came along.

Could it happen again in 2014?


"We look at some of the higher amplitude patterns and, based on what we're seeing in some of our internal modeling and some of the higher amplitude features, we expect something probably very similar to what happened last year," Dan Leonard of Weather Services International in Andover told WBZ-TV.

Dan and I agree that the risk of a blizzard matching the magnitude of last February's storm is minimal.

To make a seasonal forecast, meteorologists have to consider everything from solar activity to the amount of ice in the arctic and even Siberian snow cover. Not to mention indices like the now infamous El Nino and La Nina.

It is basically a giant atmospheric Rubik's Cube with just as many twists and turns.

"Just like last year, we had a very neutral ENSO (El Nino-Southern Oscillation), which means it's not an El Nino, it's not a La Nina, we like to call it La Nada, because it really doesn't do much, so there's one factor, " Leonard said.

"The sea surface temperatures state in the north Pacific and the north Atlantic have a lot to do with the larger term pattern as well, and when we compare this year to last year, there's very strong similarities."


National Weather Service lead forecaster Hayden Frank says the real wild card for New England is blocking in the North Atlantic.

"That's the problem with long range forecasting in the Northeast because the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) has a lot more to do with our winters than El Nino or La Nina, which you hear a lot about in the news," Frank said.

"El Nino and La Nina you can forecast out, sometimes six months, a year in advance. The NAO is hard to go more than 30 days and that's why long range forecasting is such a challenge for us."


Looking at the last five winters we can obviously have some very large swings here in Boston.

For example, we had 63.4 inches of snow last year, compared to 9.3 inches in the winter of 2012.


In 2011, we were buried with 81 inches, after getting just 35.7 in 2010 and 65.9 in 2009.

One or two major storms, like last winter's blizzard, can truly make all the difference.

Having said that, a repeat of last year's blizzard seems unlikely.

So, with all that in mind, here is our official WBZ-TV  forecast for this winter:

Temperatures will be near to slightly below normal, with of course, some Arctic outbreaks from time to time.

As for snowfall, we are expecting, close to normal in southern New England.


That's 40-to-50 inches for the greater Boston area, with lower amounts to the south and higher amounts to the north.


Once again this year, we will be looking for your winter forecast.

The annual WBZ Winter Snowfall Contest is on.

Enter your prediction here and tell us how many inches you think Boston will receive this year.

You could win a season ski pass to Wachusett Mountain and a Toro snow blower.


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