Winter is right around the corner, and the latest weather alert detailing what you can expect has been released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). According to the Daily Mail, the NOAA has released a map predicting what areas of the United States will be hit the hardest during this upcoming winter season. Based on the NOAA map, which provides a visual explanation with color-coded dots, some areas of the United States will be faced with blistering cold weather, hard freezes, substantial snowfall, and even early snowstorms.
Of course, there are the obvious winter weather predictions based on statistics. Most Americans are well aware of the fact that northern states will most likely see snowfall long before others. The highest points near the Rockies reportedly have year-round possibilities of snowfall, while the deep Southern region of United States along with the Gulf Coast, Desert Southwest, and Hawaii have no projected dates as annual snowfall is less predictable.
NOAA Climate Monitoring Branch Chief Deke Arnd recently explained the meaning of all the dots. The dots range in color from light to dark, with the clear dots indicating year-round possibilities of snow and what different regions of the country can expect from the winter weather. As the dots move to shades of blue, the map reveals which states were predicted to see snowfall by the beginning of September until the end of October.
The purple dots indicate which states are projected to see snowfall sometime this month. The states with black dots, which are mostly in the Southern region of the United States, will likely see snowfall further toward the beginning of January. However, there’s more.
Weather.com has indicated that changes in climate may contribute to early snowfall and colder winter weather. It has been reported that there are three components needed for cold weather and snowfall: “air needs to be moist, it needs to be below freezing, and the air needs to rise in order to turn moisture into snowflakes,” according to the Daily Mail. Arndt released a statement explaining the predictions that are shown on the map and how the three basic ingredients play a major role in the predicted snowfall.
“Earlier dates plunge farther southward in the plains, relative to the more Midwestern states,” Arndt wrote. “It’s especially noticeable along a line stretching roughly from the Texas panhandle to Chicago. This has a little bit to do with elevation, but more to do with the fact that the coldest air associated with many winter storms – including early winter storms – often barrel down the high plains, corralled by the Rockies to the west.”
He also explained the projection of early snowfall. The pattern of blistering cold and northern winds of autumn can gain moisture from warm lakes, which is why early snowfall in New York is expected, according to Climate.gov. However, since climate change is an issue, Arndt insists there is a possibility early snowfall may be expected.
“But not necessarily in obvious ways,” he said. “For starters, we know that in the long-term, Northern Hemisphere snow cover isn’t changing dramatically for most of the autumn months. And even in a warming world, there is still plenty of sub-freezing air hanging around in October in parts of the Canada and the Arctic.”
Although there is a possibility of snow in the month of November, it may actually be a bit shocking as the Eastern region of the United States is expected to a bit warmer than usual throughout the entire month. Accuweather recently echoed a projection similar to Arndt’s observations. Even with the air moisture and warmer water, the wind chill factor can produce snowfall. The publication also reports that “while the pattern will feature some fleeting bursts of chilly air from the northern Plains to the Great Lakes and the Northeast, the number of calendar days (days and nights) with above-normal temperatures will exceed the number of calendar days with below-average temperatures.”
In the northeast area of the United States, Highmarket, New York, and areas surrounding New England are expected to be hit the hardest with blistering cold temperatures and snowfall. In other regions of the country, places like the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Erie, Pennsylvania, Western Maryland, North Carolina, and even Shreveport, Louisiana, are expected to be hit hard by the cold winter expected this year.
[Image via NOAA]