The Winter So Far
By Don Day, Jr., Meteorologist
The chart below shows temperatures relative to 30-year normal since the end of the November 2017 through Jan. 14, 2018. The blue and green areas show where temperatures have been the coldest. Cold has dominated across the north and all of the nation from the Plains to the East Coast with the coldest temperatures in the Great Lakes and portions of New England.
Other than the Pacific Northwest the rest of the nation from the Rockies to the West Coast has had a warmer than normal winter so far.
The pattern we have observed so far is typical in a La Nina weather pattern (colder water in the tropical Pacific). Warmer in the west and colder in the north and east is to be expected in a La Nina and indications suggest that as we go into the rest of January and into February that the current trends will continue.
However, precipitation chances will be increasing in the Rockies and West Coast areas in the coming weeks along with temperatures that will not be quite as warm.
The warmer weather in the west has led to poor snowpack conditions in the central and southern Rockies. The graphic below shows snowpack conditions as of Jan. 14.
The large areas of yellow, red and orange highlight snowpack conditions that are well below normal. Notice the blue and green areas are more widespread in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies.