If you missed the story that aired Monday night, here are some of the highlights:
Wichita - A big storm dumped 8.7" of snow on the city back on February 4, 2014. The city had another 4.2 on February 10th. Since then, our snow events have been pretty small.
Dodge City - The last big storm for Dodge (other than the ice storm from last year) came on December 13, 2015. The official snow amount came in just under 8".
Driving forces in this years setup:
Arctic Oscillation (AO): For the last nearly two months, it has been consistently positive. Even though in recent days it has dropped into negative territory, I still believe most of this winter we will have a positive AO. When it's positive, Arctic cold tends to get trapped well north of Kansas.
|This is what the AO has been doing lately|
When it goes negative, there is a much stronger likelihood for Arctic cold to dive south and blanket much of the US. That should happen at least a few times during the winter.
La Nina - This is probably the one you've heard the most about, whether its been in your Facebook feed or just on the news. Most winter forecasts that have been released so far are only looking at this feature. But there are other things going on besides just La Nina.
La Nina is the colder than normal water in the Pacific (near the Equator). There's no clear answer as to what La Nina means for our winter in Kansas, but we've seen some very cold winters when they do setup. The last La Nina winters we had were back in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Winter 2010-11: 17.3" of snow fell in Wichita
Winter 2011-12: 3" of snow fell
So one of the weather patterns I think we will often this winter should look like this:
This is a setup that will deliver several waves of very cold air to the East and the upper Midwest. This is also going to be a very dry pattern for Kansas.
Another pattern will look like this:
Normal snowfall in western Kansas is roughly 25-35 inches. This winter, I expect below normal snow and even the rainfall will likely be somewhat scarce. Farther east, average snowfall drops off with Wichita averaging about 14.7" and Salina closer to 15-16". I look for below normal snows in central and eastern Kansas too, with better chances our moisture will be in the liquid form.