As the Byway’s self appointed Weather Ready Nation Ambassador, my wife, oldest grandson and I had the privilege of visiting the new NOAA weather center in Albany today. Even though they were preoccupied with the approaching storm they did offer some insight on what they expect this winter. Keep in mind that the National Weather Service’s definition of winter is for the calendar season, December 21 to March 20, while you and I know it can snow anytime between now and the end of April. In fact, before we left they were looking at the possibility of snow on the back end of the approaching storm as precipitation is ending in the Tug Hill and western Adirondacks.
…a ‘normal’ winter, ‘like last winter’
The team of meteorologists all seemed to agree that this will be a “normal” winter, “like last winter” at least here in the Albany area. There will be “normal” amounts of precipitation and “normal” temperatures. Further they point out that Lake Ontario and Lake Erie are warmer than normal right now, meaning enhanced lake effect precipitation most noticeable in the Tug Hill, northern Adirondacks and St Lawrence Valley. They would not make any prediction on the amount of snow other than to say that “normal” winter average temperature is about 27o. You and I know that temperatures are consistently one or two degrees cooler north of the Mohawk than they are in Albany (specifically at SUNY-IT). They added that “normally” we are more likely to have snow early in the season and late in the season.
Will this coming storm shepherd in colder weather? No, it will probably not result in a dramatic drop in temperatures, but more “normal” temperatures will follow. This is likely to go into the record books as the 5th warmest October on record. Will we have a Family Moonlight Ski in the Vischer Ferry Preserve on December 28? Ask me on Boxing Day. In the meantime watch for flash flooding Sunday night into Monday in low lying areas and the likelihood of high winds as the storm moves out on Monday.
The National Weather Service team also promised an update on the winter outlook on November 16. Another teaser: two of the younger members of the team promised to publish a video of a weather balloon launch on Youtube. They launch a weather balloon from the roof of the building at SUNY-IT twice daily, more often if needed.
If you ever get an invitation to visit a National Weather Service office, take them up on it! You don’t have to be a weather geek to really appreciate the opportunity.