The AccuWeather.com Long-Range Forecasting Team is predicting another brutally cold and snowy winter for a large part of the country, thanks in large part to La Niña... yet again.
La Niña, a phenomenon that occurs when sea surface temperatures across the equatorial central and eastern Pacific are below normal, is what made last year's winter so awful for the Midwest and Northeast. Monster blizzards virtually shut down the cities of New York and Chicago. Last winter was one of New York City's snowiest on record.
La Niñas often produce a volatile weather pattern for the Midwest and Northeast during winter due to the influence they have on the jet stream. The graphic below shows the position the jet stream typically takes over the U.S. during La Niña.
This graphic illustrates the common position the jet stream takes over the United States during La Niña.
The way the jet stream is expected to be positioned during this winter's La Niña will tend to drive storms through the Midwest and Great Lakes. Last year, the jet stream steered storms farther east along the Northeast coast, hammering the Interstate 95 corridor.
Therefore, instead of New York City enduring the worst of winter this year, it will likely be Chicago.
"The brunt of the winter season, especially when dealing with cold, will be over the north-central U.S.," stated Paul Pastelok, expert long-range meteorologist and leader of the AccuWeather.com Long-Range Forecasting Team.
Chicago, which endured a monster blizzard last winter, could be one of the hardest-hit cities in terms of both snow and cold in the winter ahead.
AccuWeather.com Long-Range Meteorologist Josh Nagelberg even went so far as to say, "People in Chicago are going to want to move after this winter."
While winter's worst may not be focused over the major cities of the Northeast this year, the region will not get by unscathed. Pastelok warns there could be a few significant snow and ice storms that could pack a punch.
Ice events could also be a problem for areas farther south from the southern Plains to the southern Appalachians this season, while a significant severe weather threat develops in the Lower Mississippi Valley in February. This threat is extremely concerning for the areas in Mississippi and Alabama that were devastated by tornadoes in the spring.
The West is expected to be split between mild and dry conditions in the Southwest and highly-variable, frequently-changing weather elsewhere.
Chances that Texas pulls out of its epic drought this winter are extremely slim with below-normal precipitation predicted for a large portion of the state.
Brutal Winter Ahead for the Midwest, Great Lakes
Hands down, AccuWeather.com's long-range experts agree that the Midwest and Great Lakes region will be dealt the worst of winter this year.
Bitterly cold blasts of arctic air are expected to invade the northern Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes December through January, while snowfall averages above normal. "A couple of heavy hitters are possible [during this time]," Pastelok said in relation to the snow.
In terms of both snow and cold, this winter is expected to be the worst in Chicago.
More Monster Snowstorms for the Northeast This Winter?
Overall, this winter is not expected to be as extreme as last winter for the Northeast's major cities. However, there could still be a few snow or ice storms that have a significant impact.