Winter isn't coming... It's Here

December 21, 2016 - 1:45 am
(WBEN) Winter arrived at 5:44 am Wednesday morning, bringing with it the shortest daylight hours  of the year, and this year... rain. But don't count on this opening week to be a harbinger of the season to come.

"It looks to be very different from last year," says meteorologist Jon Hitchcock at the National Weather Service. "Last  winter was one of the most mild winters we have seen, with well below normal snowfall.  That's not going to happen again this year with a weak El Nina  "

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National Weather Service Meteorologist Jon Hitchcock
On The WBEN Liveline
El Nino occurs when the tropical waters of the Pacific are warmer than normal. El Nina means they are colder than normal, and the differences in Pacific Ocean temperatures can cause changes in weather patterns over half the globe, Hitchcock says, offering a broad hint at a colder winter to come.

"There is a weak La Nina in the Pacific and that's the big difference between last year and this year," Hitchock says. "  Last year was a very strong El Nino, one of the strongest on record."

When compared to last year, December is already quite a bit colder than the abnormally warm El Nino-stoked December of 2015. 
The 7 First Alert Forecast  from Meteorologist Andy Parker

Wednesday starts off quiet with sun and clouds. There'll be a band of lake effect clouds out there. Our next system moves through during the late evening hours, bringing a few snow showers to the area. 

Gusty winds again on Thursday, as a cold front moves the area. Expect some snow showers out there, especially south of the city.

A few wet flakes and rain showers out there on Christmas Eve. Your Christmas Day looks cloudy but mild, with highs around 40F. 

WEDNESDAY: Partly Sunny and seasonable. High: 35. Scattered snow showers may develop Wednesday night.

THURSDAY: Scattered wet snow showers, possibly mixed with rain. Breezy. High: 35. Scattered snow showers overnight.

FRIDAY; Limited Sun & seasonable. Chance of scattered snow showers. High: 35.

SATURDAY; Mostly cloudy. Chance of scattered snow showers later in the day and during Christmas Eve. No signs of a heavy accumulation at this time. Saturday high: 40.

CHRISTMAS DAY; Mostly Cloudy. Chance of a few flurries. High; 40.

The Winter Solstice gives us 9 hrs, 1 min of daylight on a day when the earth is tilted furthest away from the sun, giving us the shortest amount of daylight of any day in the year.

"The days will start getting longer but as far as when the temperatures bottom out, in an average winter the coldest day of the year is mid-to late January, still a little ways to go before we rise, temperature wise,' Hitchcock says

On Sunday, temperatures plunged to minus 20 degrees and lower across much of the northern Plains with a fresh surge of bitter arctic air reaching into the Midwest. The National Weather Service forecast a warming trend to start early in the week in many spots as a quieter weather pattern was expected to develop.
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