Will Kansas get a winter wonderland this year?
TOPEKA (KSNT) – With winter approaching, many are wondering what the Midwest has in store.
Looking at the final months of 2023 and the first months of 2024, predictions for what kind of weather in Kansas will be different depending on who you ask.
Organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) have issued winter weather forecasts, while other groups, like the Famer’s Almanac and Old Farmer’s Almanac, have come up with their own conclusions about what kind of winter Kansas will experience. While all of these sources agree that El Niño will play a role this winter, they differ in several ways.
With both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and almanacs releasing their forecasts for this year’s winter, what are they saying and which ones do you trust?
What does Noah say?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its winter weather outlook through its Climate Prediction Center (CPC) on September 21, 2023. For the first time in three years, NOAA said people can expect an El Niño event in Their expectations.
El Niño and its opposite, La Niña, are opposites in a naturally occurring cycle, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These phenomena occur every three to five years, lasting about nine to 12 months in the case of El Niño and one to three years in the case of La Niña.
With an El Niño weather pattern expected, this means there will be a weakening of the trade winds over the Pacific, leading to rising ocean waters in the eastern Pacific, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This will have an impact in the form of increased rainfall across the southern parts of the country.
While the southern United States is likely to see wetter conditions as it transitions into winter, states to the north may see drier conditions, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Midwest and Kansas are in an area with equal chances of above-normal or below-normal temperatures.
These trends will also have an impact on the amount of precipitation the United States will receive, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Kansas occupies an area that is likely to see above or below normal precipitation forecasts.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac takes a strong stance on forecasting winter conditions this year, stating in its 2023-2024 weather forecast that the United States is on its way to a “winter wonderland.” Kansas, along with much of the United States, is expected to see cold and snowy conditions, with snow arriving in November.
Above-average snowfall is expected in the eastern half of Kansas, with the odds of a white Christmas high, according to the calendar. Western Kansas will see more snow along with bitter cold temperatures with residents north of I-70 able to expect a white Christmas.
The Farmer’s Almanac says traditionally cold temperatures coupled with snowy conditions will return to the U.S. this year. The calendar predicts snow, sleet and ice for much of the country, with the Midwest receiving plenty of rain and wintry conditions.
Blizzards and heavy snow are expected in the spring of 2024, according to the Farmers Almanac.
Who do you trust?
While some may be tempted to put their trust in outdated sources like calendars, meteorologists caution against doing so. Eli Millard, a meteorologist at KSNT Stormtrack, says you shouldn’t put too much faith in calendar forecasts.
“I wouldn’t rely too heavily on the Farmers’ Almanac, given that it attempts to make long-term predictions about relatively short-term events,” Millard said.
The Farmer’s Almanac claims to have a secret mathematical and astronomical formula that it has been using to predict the weather since 1818. Likewise, the Old Farmer’s Almanac also has a secret weather formula that has been closely guarded since its founding in 1792.
While the Farmers’ Almanac claims to have accurate weather forecasts, a FOX4 meteorologist found in 2022 that the almanac was correct about 35% of the time over the past 10 years.
“Professional meteorologists and climate scientists who take the time to accurately assimilate data within a reasonable time frame to make appropriate forecast decisions should always be trusted,” Millard said. “When something is in print, it can’t be changed, but as forecasts and climate evolve, meteorologists can accurately update the information to reflect new thinking.”
For a weather forecast for KSNT, click here. Follow the latest breaking news in Northeast Kansas by downloading our mobile app.