NOAA releases Winter 2021/22 Outlook: How much cold and snow this year for Virginia

Weather

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Winter is approaching, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center has released its winter weather outlook for the 2021-2022 season.

According to NOAA’s outlook, the southern tier of the U.S. and the East Coast will likely notice warmer-than-average temperatures this winter. Below-average temperatures are favored for the Pacific Northwest.

(Image: Courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

The U.S. Precipitation Outlook map shows wetter-than-average conditions are most likely in parts of the Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes, and Ohio Valley. Drier-than-average conditions are favored in the Southwest and the Southeast.

(Image: Courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Overall, this outlook spells out warmer-than-average temperatures for much of the Commonwealth this winter. However, equal chances for below-, near- or above-average precipitation is expected in Virginia during the winter months.

The warmer-than-average temperatures hint that we could see more icy or rain events in Southwest Virginia this winter. Snow will still have the chance to develop under the right circumstances.

“Consistent with typical La Nina conditions during winter months, we anticipate below-normal temperatures along portions of the northern tier of the U.S. while much of the South experiences above-normal temperatures,” said Jon Gottschalck, chief, Operational Prediction Branch, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “The Southwest will certainly remain a region of concern as we anticipate below-normal precipitation where drought conditions continue in most areas.”

The seasonal outlook looks at temperature and precipitation trends between December 2021 through February 2022. NOAA says the outlook does not project seasonal snowfall accumulations as snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advance. 

The emerging La Niña weather pattern plays a part in this year’s winter outlook. A La Niña phase is characterized by cool sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean that impact weather patterns in North America. This will likely be the second year in a row that the U.S. will experience a La Niña winter.

It’s important to keep in mind that these winter outlooks are long-range forecasts which rely on large-scale weather patterns and oscillations. Day-to-day forecasts tend to offer more accuracy. The WFXR Pinpoint Weather Team will continue to bring you the latest weather updates as we enter the winter season.

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