Watch: 2020-2021 Winter Weather Outlook Special

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 7:20 PM EST
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - From flooding to severe weather and even record-breaking heat, 2020 has been an interesting year in the mountains. Now it is time to look ahead to this winter and the WYMT Winter Weather Outlook.

This year was a little bit different though as the WYMT Weather Team put together their thoughts in a 30-minute special. The special touches on the 2019-2020 winter season, the very active severe weather season and most importantly the 2020-2021 Winter Weather Outlook.


For the 2019-2020 winter weather season, we saw above-average temperatures for December, January and February. This led to a pretty mild winter and below-average snowfall. However, we did see above-average rainfall for both December and February and even had some flooding issues for the month of February.

Last year’s weather pattern was due to an ENSO Neutral setup which means sea surface temperatures were average off of the coast of South America. During an ENSO Neutral year, typically we see wetter and warmer conditions as the polar jet sets up right over us here in the mountains. That jet dipped down a few times last year bringing us a few shots of cold air along with some snow, just not a whole lot.


The 2020-2021 winter weather season doesn’t look a lot different compared to last year. The big difference is that we will see La Nina set up this year which means sea surface temperatures are below average off the coast of South America. While this setup is different from last year, there are still a lot of similarities. During a typical La Nina season, warmer and wetter conditions are favorable for our region.

NOAA has the mountains in a 33-40% chance of seeing above-average temperatures for the months of December, January and February. For rainfall, we are in the ‘Equal Chance’ category which means we have an equal chance of seeing either blow or above-average rainfall.

So what does the WYMT Weather Team predict for the winter months?

DECEMBER: We are predicting above-average temperatures with average precipitation. The average temperature for the month of December from the NWS Jackson is 43.5° and remember that includes both the high and low temperatures. Rainfall is typically near 4.18″ and we expect to stay near average. For snowfall, NWS Jackson has an average of 4.9″ and the team expects to see below-average snowfall.

JANUARY: The average temperature for January is 34.9° and once again, we expect to see warmer temperatures. For the month of January we typically see about 3.61″ of rain and we expect to stay near the average. The average snowfall from NWS Jackson is 7.1″ and we once again predicting below-average snowfall.

FEBRUARY: Our prediction is slightly different in February. The above-average temperature prediction stays the same as the average for the month is 38.8°. However, for rainfall, we are predicting that value to be above average. The average for the month of February is 3.75″ but over the past 3-4 years, we have seen flooding issues during the month of February. Hopefully, we won’t see any big issues in February once again but we do believe we will hang onto the trend of above-average rainfall. Since those temperatures stay above average for February, the weather team is predicting below-average snowfall. The average snowfall for February is about 7.0″.

Remember, forecasts are the most accurate between three and five days out.

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