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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Winter to start cold, get warmer

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jesse Walker
In a year filled with unpredictable weather, area residents are curious as to what winter will bring.

On Tuesday, WTWO Head Meteorologist Jesse Walker released his annual Winter Outlook and took some time to explain his forecast with The Brazil Times.

"In a nutshell, the winter should start out tough in December but break in early to mid-January and be a little milder," Walker said. "In fact, it could be the coldest December since 1989."

Like with all of his forecasts, Walker reviews what happened in a number of previous winters based patterns shown through the rest of the year. For this year's outlook, Walker looked back at the winters of 1985-86, 1989-90, 1995-96, 2000-01 and 2005-06.

"I analyze the sea surface temperatures of areas like the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Alaska, along with whether there are El Nino or La Nina signals," he said. "I also look at the hurricane seasons because the amount of hurricane activity is a big indicator of energy levels."

Walker weighed all the different factors and determined the winter of 1989-90 would be the most similar to this year.

"In 1989, we had the coldest December on record, yet it was also the warmest winter the Wabash Valley experienced in the past 20 years," he said. "Right now we are in neutral (atmospheric pressure) signal, but we could be entering a weal La Nina signal by the end of the season."

While Walker forecasts the temperatures to become milder as winter progresses, he also believes winter will be a little drier with slightly less snow than usual.

"The average winter snowfall for our area is 19 inches, but I think we will get about 17, which will still be the most we have had since the winter of 2004-05," Walker said. "One issue that could come up is that there will probably be many smaller snows instead of the bigger snowstorms which could be a hindrance to road crews with the salt shortage this year."

He added despite the cold temperatures anticipated for December, the weather patterns do not suggest much snowfall until February.

"There may well be an early snow this winter, but the best chance will come in February," Walker said.

Other concerns residents have regarding winter are how the wind will affect temperatures and the chances for ice storms.

"It should definitely be a windy winter, and most of the winds will be out of the west or northwest," Walker said. "I believe most people will notice the winds and, as far as the potential for an ice storm, the highest risk should be south of the Wabash Valley, most likely around Kentucky."

As the holidays begin to hit full stride, thoughts begin to turn to Christmas and the chance of seeing snowfall as presents are being opened.

"The last time we saw a White Christmas was in 2004," Walker said. "Conditions look to be favorable and I think we could see one this year."

Walker's Winter Outlook can be found on the WTWO web site at www.mywabashvalley.com/content/winterout... with a video link available, as well as on The Brazil Times' web site at www.thebraziltimes.com/story/1480995.htm....

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