2017-2018 winter weather outlook promises to be "volatile"

1 year 1 month 3 weeks ago Wednesday, November 29 2017 Nov 29, 2017 Wednesday, November 29, 2017 7:00:00 PM CST November 29, 2017 in Weather
By: Kenton Gewecke, KOMU 8 Chief Meteorologist
loading

COLUMBIA - Last year, the winter of 2016-2017 lacked, well, winter. It was unseasonably warm with record breaking warm temperatures and the least amount of snow we've seen since weather records began in the late 19th century. An average winter in mid-Missouri will recieve between 16 and 17 inches of snow. Last winter we received a record low with less than 2" of snowfall accumulation. 

This year will be different. We have a moderate to strong La Niña pattern expected to last through the winter into spring. While every La Niña year is different, there is a general pattern we typically see.

To be more specific, La Niña is an atmospheric pattern stemming from equatorial trade winds and sea surface temperatures. A La Niña is evident when the Equatorial Pacific sea surface is much cooler. The easterlies (trade winds) will push warmer ocean water to the western Pacific ocean, leaving the eastern Pacific cooler. 

There is another indicator of a La Niña pattern: strong hurricanes in the Atlantic. We saw this in the summer and fall of 2017 with multiple major hurricanes forming and hitting the United States. 

So now that we have a La Niña pattern overhead, what does that mean for the United States and Mid-Missouri this winter season?

General U.S. Winter La Niña Weather Pattern

A "Blocking High" will push the the jet stream to stream from the NW United States to dip into the central US. This will bring in colder air from Canada along with moisture. However, warmer and drier conditions are usually experienced in the southern U.S. That leaves Missouri in the "battle zone".

Missouri is in the middle of it all: wet, dry, cold, warm. That means this winter is not only more difficult to predict but we'll be more susceptible to many different situations. 

Before we move into the forecast, it is important to note that the simple fact that we're entering a moderate or strong La Niña winter doesn't mean we'll see anything specific. It is not exact science. It is not an equation "Winter+La Niña='XYZ'." For example, look back at the past 10 winters in mid-Missouri and compare the La Niña winters to each other.

A strong La Niña winter in the past has meant both 14.4" (below average) and 53.4" (extremely above average). Again, no two La Niña winters are perfectly alike. 

2017-2018 Winter Outlook: Missouri

We're in the "battle zone" which means we're likely going to see a bit of everything. This means we won't be cold all winter or warm all winter or dry or wet all winter. We're going to have many different systems and patterns throughout winter. Just when we get used to one type of weather, we'll see a change. A volatile winter, if you will.

Overall, we expect average or above average precipitation. What's impossible to know is how exactly that precip. will pile up. Will it be rain, ice, or snow?

We have equal chances for average rainfall and snowfall this winter. However, compared to an average winter, we will have an increased chance for ice. This is because we're between colder and warmer air (the "battle zone"), meaning there is a better chance we'll be close to the freezing mark as precipitation falls.

Temperatures will be average, but likely above average overall after it's all said and done. We can expect multiple bitterly cold systems to bring in colder arctic air. This is in large part due to the jet stream's setup in the La Niña pattern. Stretches of time will be warm, too.

For the latest forecast updates and tracking of this volatile winter directly from the KOMU 8 Weather Center, right in the palm of your hands, download the KOMU 8 Weather & Traffic App on your Apple and Android devices. 

We'll keep you updated every day on KOMU 8 Newscasts, on the web at komu.com/weather and on Facebook & Twitter

It's winter weather coverage you can count on.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Tuesday Boone Hospital trustees announced two future management options. The trustees announced the options are either a... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, January 22 2019 Jan 22, 2019 Tuesday, January 22, 2019 7:14:00 PM CST January 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - An initiative is up for approval Tuesday night at city council that could save a life. "Share... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, January 22 2019 Jan 22, 2019 Tuesday, January 22, 2019 7:02:00 PM CST January 22, 2019 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT - For families displaced after an apartment complex fire, a warm meal puts the comfort in comfort food.... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, January 22 2019 Jan 22, 2019 Tuesday, January 22, 2019 4:34:00 PM CST January 22, 2019 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT - A woman displaced by a massive fire in Holts Summit Monday said it was "horrific and real."... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, January 22 2019 Jan 22, 2019 Tuesday, January 22, 2019 4:16:00 PM CST January 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – A recently-published pilot study by an MU law professor calls attention to landlords’ sexual harassment of their low-income... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, January 22 2019 Jan 22, 2019 Tuesday, January 22, 2019 4:09:00 PM CST January 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A recent report says Missouri ranks 49th in average starting teacher salary. The Missouri Department of Elementary... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, January 22 2019 Jan 22, 2019 Tuesday, January 22, 2019 3:22:00 PM CST January 22, 2019 in News
CLIFTON HILL - The Westran School District released its students from class early Tuesday due to a water main break... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, January 22 2019 Jan 22, 2019 Tuesday, January 22, 2019 2:57:00 PM CST January 22, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A former Jefferson City Public Schools employee filed a lawsuit accusing the district of discrimination. Denise... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, January 22 2019 Jan 22, 2019 Tuesday, January 22, 2019 2:51:00 PM CST January 22, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - House Democrats want more funding for K-12 transportation and the Columbia School Board agrees. “Desperately underfunded,"... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, January 22 2019 Jan 22, 2019 Tuesday, January 22, 2019 2:45:00 PM CST January 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital has been awarded the Veterans Health Administration's award for "Best Place... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, January 22 2019 Jan 22, 2019 Tuesday, January 22, 2019 2:39:00 PM CST January 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The largest rural transit provider in the state is reducing services because of the government shutdown. “What... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, January 22 2019 Jan 22, 2019 Tuesday, January 22, 2019 2:31:00 PM CST January 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Firefighters said unattended cooking caused the fire at an apartment complex in central Columbia on Sunday. The... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, January 22 2019 Jan 22, 2019 Tuesday, January 22, 2019 10:25:00 AM CST January 22, 2019 in News
MONITEAU COUNTY - Moniteau County deputies are looking for a man from the city of California after they said he... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, January 22 2019 Jan 22, 2019 Tuesday, January 22, 2019 10:13:00 AM CST January 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - One person was detained in connection to a threat made at the Midway Travel Plaza on Highway 40,... More >>
23 hours ago Monday, January 21 2019 Jan 21, 2019 Monday, January 21, 2019 11:58:00 PM CST January 21, 2019 in News
SUNRISE BEACH - One person died at a high rise at the Lake of the Ozarks Monday morning according to... More >>
23 hours ago Monday, January 21 2019 Jan 21, 2019 Monday, January 21, 2019 11:27:00 PM CST January 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - With just over two months left before the April 2 Municipal Election, mayoral candidate Chris Kelly is calling... More >>
1 day ago Monday, January 21 2019 Jan 21, 2019 Monday, January 21, 2019 5:30:00 PM CST January 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - With over 500 districts across the country switching to four day school weeks, there has been an increase... More >>
1 day ago Monday, January 21 2019 Jan 21, 2019 Monday, January 21, 2019 5:29:00 PM CST January 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Back in November, Missourians voted to pass Proposition B, which would increase the minimum wage over the next... More >>
1 day ago Monday, January 21 2019 Jan 21, 2019 Monday, January 21, 2019 5:21:00 PM CST January 21, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 42°
12am 30°
1am 28°
2am 27°
3am 26°