Recently the Farmer’s Almanac released its 2022-23 winter outlook, saying this winter could have some exciting snowfall! But winter outlooks inherently contain a degree of uncertainty since so many factors are not predictable in advance, and climate change is also adding to the complexity of weather outlooks.
Meteorologists have said this winter will resemble the last two winters. Who will be right?
For the third winter in a row, the North American pattern remains dominated by La Niña. This “triple-dip La Niña” is rare and occurs only once every 20-22 years. It is only the third time it has occurred since 1950. La Niña occurs when sea surface temperatures are colder than average across the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.
Sometimes, La Niña winters can be snowier than average across nearly the entire Western United States, with recent examples including ‘07-08, ‘10-11, and ‘16-17. However, the past two winters (which were both La Niñas) were underwhelming for snowfall across most of the West.
La Niña typically means heavier snow and colder temperatures in the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, the northern Rockies, and the northern tier of states. Colorado is currently projected to have average snowfall this winter in the central and northern mountains. We should expect to see below-normal snowfall in the southern mountains and the drought could likely worsen there. Meteorologist Chris Tomer said he expects total snowfall of about 57” with windier than normal conditions.
While not all the predictions are rosy, it is possible that the winter of 2022-23 could be the La Niña we’ve all been waiting for. Since 1980, when clusters of two or more La Niña winters have occurred, at least one of the winters ended up being a “big winter” across a large portion of the West.
Keep in mind that no matter how heavy or light a winter is overall when it comes to skiing it’s all about timing. Booking a trip 7-10 days in advance and for a general area that looks stormy will increase your chances of scoring deep powder days.
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About the Author
Tiffany is a contributing member of the Sales & Marketing department. She resides in Georgetown, CO with her fiancé and two 14-year-old dogs. They like to go for walks along Clear Creek and Georgetown Lake as well as the hiking trail located just behind the house. She also enjoys true crime podcasts and visiting with her parents up in Fort Collins.