Sunday, October 23, 2011
The National Weather Service recently released its new winter outlook. One factor that is looked at is whether we have an El Nino (warming of ocean water off the west coast of South America near the equator) or a La Nina (cooling of ocean water off the west coast of South America near the equator).
It looks like La Nina conditions will last for a period, and this affects the overall jet stream pattern. This change in the jet stream also produces certain winter weather effects in different parts of the country.
However, Virginia is in one zone where there are no consistently true climatological effects when it comes to La Nina. So, this would give the basic first glance that our winter could be on the average or normal side. For the Richmond metro area, that means about 10 inches of snow.
A lot of other factors affect how the winter turns out, such as patterns in the arctic and north Atlantic, but at this point, it is too early to tell if any particular pattern will lock into place for any period of time.