FORT WAYNE, Indiana (WANE) – Each year as winter approaches, the Live Doppler 15 Fury Storm team puts together their official winter weather forecast for the upcoming season. In the meteorological world, winter runs from December 1 to February 28 (or 29). This makes it easier to compare winter data from year to year. The dates of the winter solstice (first day of astronomical winter) and vernal equinox (first day of astronomical spring) may change slightly from year to year, disrupting data analysis.
Officially recognized meteorological data for the city of Fort Wayne exists until 1897. Some unofficial observations existed previously, but the accuracy of these has not been verified. Over 120 years of data, we have had temperatures ranging from -24 ° to 73 ° during the period of December / January / February
While no winter is ever “typical”, the Live Doppler 15 Fury Storm team confirms the following values as averages for the city of Fort Wayne over the past 3 decades (1991-2020).
Average daily temperature: 28.4 °
Average precipitation (rain + snow + ice) 7.07 ″
Average annual snowfall 33.6 ″
New averages are calculated every 10 years by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The most recent 30-year period used to produce current average values is 1991-2020. So, when calculating this year’s winter outlook, the Live Doppler 15 Fury Storm team had new data to reference. Compared to our previous averages for 1981-2010. we are a degree warmer over the 30-year period, which is significant, exactly even on the total precipitation (rain in December / January / February + liquid equivalent of snow and ice), but hardly more snowy in passing from 33.5 ″ on average in the old data set to 33.6 ″ for the annual average in the new data set.
The driving force behind our winter model for 2021-2022 is a phenomenon called La Niña. This is where the stronger than usual trade winds at the equator move warm water westward, allowing cooler water from below to rise to the surface. Although this only happens at the equator, it has a major impact on jet streams and weather conditions around the world.
While knowing that La Niña conditions are presently present gives us a general weather pattern for the upcoming winter season, each La Niña winter can produce varying conditions.
The number of annual snowfalls in years spent with La Niña winters does not show a definitive trend. Over the last 10 years of La Niña. 3 winters were above average for snowfall, 4 were below average and 3 were near average.
A clearer trend appears when analyzing temperatures. Only one year out of the 10 similar years experienced above average winter temperatures, 3 were below average and 6 were near average.
This same signal for near-average temperatures also appears in a separate statistical analysis from the National Weather Service. These data indicate that the claim that there is an increased likelihood that winter temperatures will be near average is a claim that is true 90 times out of 100, given the outlook for La Niña this year.
So, assuming these near-average temperatures, like those we experienced in the La Niña winters of last year and 2017-18, we believe snowfall will be near or below average levels.
Taking this historical data into account, our Live Doppler 15 Fury Storm Team Winter Outlook forecasts December / January / February temperatures near average, total precipitation above average, but annual snowfall near or below average. mean.
Regarding the total precipitation in December / January / February, including rain and the liquid equivalent of snow and ice, the Live Doppler 15 Fury Storm team believes that the position of the jet stream brought by the model La Niña will result in above average total precipitation for the season because a number of weather systems, many small but some large, will be primed to follow us to allow precipitation to build up. We’ve already seen this pattern start to unfold before winter, in November, with a few winter systems that traveled directly from the northwest. This jet stream configuration also has the potential to direct systems with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico into northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. If that happens, we could easily see such moisture-rich systems adding significant amounts to our precipitation totals. Despite the fact that only 2 recent years of La Niña have generated above average precipitation, we are confident in our forecast at this time.
Updates will be posted here and data on WANE 15, if our forecasts change as winter progresses.