It’s time to put those flip-flops away once and for all. Because whether you like it or not, winter’s coming, and it looks like it might be a doozy. Let’s take a closer look—with a little help from the experts—at what weather to expect in the weeks and months ahead.
While the lingering effects of El Niño may have some people expecting warmer weather for 2016-2017, they may be in for a big surprise. Topping the list of regions potentially in the path of significant snowfall as winter approaches? The entire East Coast. According to meteorologists, both New England and upstate New York can expect to see chillier-than-usual temperatures—accompanied by the chance of major winter storms—from December through February this year.
Not only that, but while El Niño may finally be gone, La Niña is on its way, meaning we can expect to see more unusual weather—including the early arrival of cold weather this winter. Explains CNN, “El Niño is characterized by a warming of the waters in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. La Niña features a cooling of those same Pacific waters.” The fallout from these changing weather patterns can be widespread and unpredictable.
While some parts of the country may see warmer weather, experts advise that the region spanning from the Great Lakes to the Southeast also has its fair share of cold, wet weather headed its way in the near future—especially during January and February. How much so? The Weather Network warns of the significant likelihood of “above average precipitation from Southern California across the entirety of the South and up the Atlantic coast, including the major northeastern Metros.”
Meteorologists are also quick to warn that even predictions for warm weather don’t preclude the chance of major snowfall. Consider last winter’s Winter Storm Jonas, which slammed the Mid-Atlantic region and caused record snowfalls everywhere from the Washington, DC area to New York City. West Virginia, meanwhile, topped totals with 42 whopping inches of snow. Chicagoans, meanwhile, won’t soon forget last winter’s above-average early snow which occurred in the midst of an unseasonably warm November.
The truth is that while meteorologists have more resources at their disposal than ever before when it comes to predicting the weather, at the end of the day they’re just that: predictions. And because of the inherent uncertainty involved in weather forecasting, even the experts preach caution. Senior scientist Dr. Agus Santoso told CNN, “My concern is whether the public and the government are ready for a strong La Niña event.”
The overall takeaway for people—no matter what’s predicted for where you live? The only way to truly be sure that you’re ready for whatever winter sends your way is to plan ahead.
One way to prepare is to ensure you have a method for sending emergency alerts. Already have an alerting system? This is a great time to test it.
If you don’t have an emergency notification system in place, now is the time to get one, before the snow starts falling.