WATCH: WYMT First Alert Weather 2022-23 Winter Weather Outlook

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 6:05 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2022 at 10:39 AM EST
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - It is finally that time of year! The WYMT First Alert Weather Team has put together our 2022-23 Winter Weather Outlook.

From severe weather outbreaks, to major snow events, the winter of 2021-22 is not one people will forget any time soon. But now, we look ahead to this winter...featuring a remarkably similar pattern.

Last Winter in Review:

December 2021 featured well above normal temperatures thanks to a very warm airmass in place across the region. This, combined with an active storm track, led to multiple instances of severe weather throughout the Ohio Valley, including a rare intense tornado outbreak on the night of December 10. That system eventually moved through the mountains early the next morning, producing damaging winds and heavy rain. Despite the rounds of storms, the region was below average for rainfall...and, par for the course, below average in snowfall for the month.

January 2022 picked up where December left off with mild temperatures in place, leading to another severe weather episode on New Year’s Day. This brought plenty of flooding to the region as well as an EF-1 tornado that touched down in far western Estill County. However, Mother Nature flipped that script on its head the next week with the first of several wintry systems bringing plenty of snow to the region. Temperatures ended up being several degrees below normal for the month, with well above normal precipitation and snowfall.

And, funny enough, February 2022 picked up where January left off, with a little bit of snow early in the month and plenty of cold air! However, a warm second half of the month brought above average temperatures for the month with average precipitation and low snowfall totals.

This Winter:

The pattern for the winter of 2022-2023 once again looks similar to last year, with La Niña setting up off the South American coast, but not quite as strong as previous years. A wetter than normal pattern is favored in this scenario, with a typical La Niña winter also favoring a warmer than normal setup.

The forecast from NOAA has the area in the 40-50% chance of seeing above normal rainfall for the months of December, January, and February. We are also in the 33-40% chance of seeing above normal temperatures for the period as well.

December: With La Nina conditions in place during the first half of the winter, we expect temperatures to be above average during the month of December (with the the average of all highs and lows in the month averaging out to 39.7°), with above normal precipitation as well (we normally should see 4.47″). With the warm air in place, we believe we’ll see below normal snowfall for the month (we normally see about 4.1″ at the NWS in Jackson).

January: Similar to what ended up happening last winter, we are predicting cooler than normal conditions through the month of January. We should normally see an average temperature at about 35.8° for the month. With that, we’ll think that we’ll see above normal precipitation, and above normal snowfall. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll see the more than double the average of 7.4″ that we did last year but we do think we’ll exceed that average total for the month.

February: As is often the case during February, our forecast has us above normal with temperatures and above normal with precipitation. Now, the average temperature for the month of February is typically about 39.7°. So, if we do indeed see an average temperature higher than that, it’s likely that we will see below average snowfall at Jackson again.

Now that we have presented this information, it’s important to remember that long range forecasting is complicated. There are so many small nuances that can mean the difference between a nailed forecast and a huge bust. Forecasts are generally most accurate to three to five days out. Seasonal forecasts tend to be a generalization of expected patterns..

Evan also hosted a Q&A Facebook Live immediately after the special and you can watch that below.