Will D.C., Maryland and Virginia see a snowy winter in 2023-2024? Here’s the winter weather forecast for Storm Team4 – NBC4 Washington
Not a fan of big snow? Maybe last winter was perfect for you. Snow lovers haven’t gotten a good amount since January 2019, when more than 10 inches fell in the D.C. area.
But pack those waterproof boots and snow shovels — because if you want snow and lots of it, Storm Team4 says this could be your year.
Storm Team 4 prediction:
- 22 to 30 inches of snow this winter in the I-95 corridor and the D.C. metro area
- 15″-22″ in our southern areas
- 30″-40″ in western suburbs
If conditions combine, we could see one or two big snowstorms that will really leave their mark in the winter of 2023-2024.
We should see an active storm track this winter, with many storms that will produce rain at times and snow at other times. Temperatures will be above average for much of this winter, but there will be cold snaps as well. All of this will add to the potential for some big storms on the East Coast.
We expect December to be around average or slightly above. January will have slightly below average temperatures, while February may be our coldest – and windiest – month.
Recent winters have seen a shortage of snowflakes
Our last snowstorm was back in 2016. As one of the largest snowstorms in D.C. history, it shut down the city for several days.
But since then, six of the past seven winters have seen below-average snowfall. The winter of 2018-2019 was the only time we exceeded the 13.7 average.”
Over the past seven years, we’ve averaged just 6.8 inches of snowfall per year — and in two of those years, we didn’t even get an inch. The 2019-2020 winter saw only 0.6 inches, and last winter was one of the snowiest winters on record, at 0.4 inches. Last winter was also one of the warmest on record.
Snowfall forecast for winter 2023-2024
It’s been either feast or famine when it comes to snow over the past few years, but lately it’s become more famine.
Now, as we look forward to the winter of 2023-2024, we can have a little more fun.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is currently predicting above-average temperatures for our area this winter, and we agree. They’re also predicting above-average rainfall for our area — and we agree with that, too.
An El Niño phenomenon has developed in the tropical Pacific Ocean, and this could bring more snow, including the potential for some major snowstorms. El Niño has a profound effect on weather around the world. In our area, that usually means more snow, but let’s dig into the details.
What do you know about the effect of the El Niño phenomenon on winter in the capital region?
This developing El Niño phenomenon appears to be strong. Looking at previous years with similar conditions, the Capital Region has had great success in terms of snowfall barely every-time.
We reviewed four similar El Niño winters: 1957–1958, 1965–1966, 1972–1973, and 1982–1983. The average snowfall over those four winters was 24 inches — but we said we just hit the jackpot barely every-time. The winter of 1972-73 was actually the lowest snowfall winter ever, at just 0.1″. While El Niño may have been similar that year, other factors were not, and Storm Team4 took that year out of the equation .
So, during the other El Niño winters (1957-1958, 1965-1966, 1982-1983), we got an average of 32.1 inches per winter. That’s a big number – and Storm Team4 is anticipating a big winter.
Other factors involved in predicting a snowy winter
There are many other factors at play in addition to the El Niño phenomenon. For example, warmer waters in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico should help produce more moisture during storms in the metropolitan area. Warm waters in the Pacific Ocean should also help bring in more moisture from the west.
Another factor to consider is the Siberian snow cover in October and early November. Typically, the cold and snowy weather there during this time period would mean a colder than average winter for us and a snowier winter. This year, snowfall in that part of the world was a little late, but is now actually starting to pick up.
Storm Team4 is also reviewing the so-called quasi-binary oscillation (QBO). This takes a look at winds in the stratosphere. Currently, QBO is negative. When this happens, we expect more outbreaks of cold weather in the eastern United States, and that could lead to more snow.
Stay with Storm Team4 for the latest forecasts. Download the NBC Washington app on iOS and Android to get severe weather alerts on your phone.
(tags for translation) Storm Team 4