It's almost officially winter and you may be asking "Where's the snow?" Good question. Many have braced for a brutal winter, but it has certainly been quite a tame start to the season. How does this year stack up to last year up to this point? Check it out, the comparison from mid December 0f 10' to mid December of 11'.
December 13th of 2010:
December 13th, 2011
At Toledo specifically, the measurable snow for this season to date is 2.8" which is -1.4" below average up to this point. That may seem like an insignificant amount, and I'd agree with that. But the main message is the undeniable differences between this past winter and how this winter is unfolding. Here is a closer examination of the Great Lakes region.
Great Lakes Snowpack:
Winter will undoubtedly bite with vengeance bringing the snow and cold, But not any time soon. As I discussed in my winter weather outlook in my earlier posting, ouR winter would be controlled more so by shorter term atmospheric teleconnections, specifically the Arctic Oscillation (AO). A positive phase on the AO equates to mild weather for the eastern half of the Untied States while a negative phase equates to an intrusion of Arctic air that would be more favorable for a hearty and thicker snowpack. Here is the data backing this up...comparison of the AO from the past few Decembers.
The positive, warmer phase has been dominant, and looks to remain so through at least late December. This explains the lack of snow over the Northern Plains and Great Lakes region so far this season. The AO has dominated over all other factors including La Nina.