After a weirdly mild winter and a hotter than ever summer, some of us are beginning to ask: What will this winter be like?
According to some weather forecasters, Buffalo will feel like Buffalo again this winter, with cold temperatures and, of course, plenty of snow.
Others say indications are that Buffalo has a greater chance of having a winter with above-average temperatures than one with temperatures near or below normal.
The prediction for a warmer than normal winter comes from the National Weather Service. Early projections show about a 43 percent chance of temperatures being above normal, according to meteorologist Dan Kelly. How much higher and how that could translate into snow still are very much up in the air, he said.
“There are no strong signals indicating anything at this point,” Kelly said.
That said, Kelly pointed out that the area will get a little taste of winter this weekend, when overnight lows are expected to plummet into the 30s for much of the area and possibly into the below-freezing range in the Southern Tier and areas east of Buffalo.
Although there will be some precipitation this weekend, Kelly said most of it should have moved out of the area before “temperatures get down to the freezing level.” And that should mean no snow yet, he said. “But we’re not ruling it out completely,” he said.
Predicting a cold and snowy winter was Accuweather.com, which released its winter forecast Wednesday. Meteorologist Mark Paquette foresees a winter that actually will feel like winter for Buffalo. “We expect more snow than what we had last year, but that’s not saying much,” he said.
Buffalo received just over a third of its usual snowfall last season – just 36.6 inches. The area normally gets about 90 to 100 inches during the snow season.
This time around, the winter months will seem more familiar to weather-hardy Buffalonians who were happy to have left their snowblowers in their garages last winter but were left a little wistful for snowball fights, snowman building and other winter rites of passage.
“We do see times of arctic blasts coming down,” Paquette said, “and when you guys have arctic blasts, we expect lake-effect snow.”
In other words, Paquette said, “It will be a normal Buffalo winter.”
The Farmers’ Almanac predicted cold and snow will return to the eastern half of the country, particularly between the Great Lakes and the Northeast, with the western half seeing a relatively mild and dry winter.