Could D.C. area have a bad winter? Meteorologists look to Siberia

This is how NBC 4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer looks in real life when you see him pointing to a weather map on TV. Ah, the magic of the green screen. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
This is how NBC 4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer looks in real life when you see him pointing to a weather map on TV. Ah, the magic of the green screen. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
NBC 4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer at his desk. He and the station's other meteorologists are in the process of working up a winter weather forecast that they'll release in early November. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
NBC 4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer at his desk. He and the station’s other meteorologists are in the process of working up a winter weather forecast that they’ll release in early November. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Kammerer is keeping an eye on the snow cover in Siberia, as seen here.  He says if it's above average in October, it usually means a cold and snowy winter ahead for America's Northeast. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Kammerer is keeping an eye on the snow cover in Siberia, as seen here. He says if it’s above average in October, it usually means a cold and snowy winter ahead for America’s Northeast. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
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This is how NBC 4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer looks in real life when you see him pointing to a weather map on TV. Ah, the magic of the green screen. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
NBC 4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer at his desk. He and the station's other meteorologists are in the process of working up a winter weather forecast that they'll release in early November. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Kammerer is keeping an eye on the snow cover in Siberia, as seen here.  He says if it's above average in October, it usually means a cold and snowy winter ahead for America's Northeast. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

WASHINGTON — You’re likely not worried about how much snow is piling up in Siberia this month.

But NBC 4’s meteorologists are as they work on crafting a winter weather forecast for the D.C. region.

“One of the things we’ve looked at, really only over the past 10 years or so, is how much snow is in Siberia in the month of October,” NBC 4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer tells WTOP.

He says if the snow cover in that area is above average for this month, it often means a cold and snowy winter in America’s Northeast.

Kammerer says there is also a very strong El Niño, or warm central Pacific Ocean current, this year that will have a big impact on the region’s weather.

“We’ve had two very strong El Niños of this magnitude in the past that we can look back on,” he says.

“One was the winter of ’82-’83. That particular winter was a fairly cold winter and had a very big snowstorm in the month of February. I think we had some areas that got close to 20 inches of snow at some point. Then we had ’97-’98, and that winter we had .8 inches of snow the entire season. So it was either nothing, or you get a monster snowstorm.”

Kammerer grew up in Herndon, and has fond memories of that ’80s storm.

“My dad was throwing me into the 2-and-a-half feet of snow that we had outside my house, and we made major toboggan runs.”

Will this winter be like that one?

“We know we’re going to get the storms. El Niño brings us the storms. But will we have enough cold air to make them snowstorms? That’s the big question that we’re looking at right now. I’m leaning toward yes, but that just might be me because I love snow,” says Kammerer.

He says we’re setting up for a war of opposing forces.

“You’ve got two things fighting against each other, very warm air from El Niño and very cold air from the Arctic and from Siberia coming our way.”

NBC 4’s meteorologists plan to release their winter weather forecast early next month.

Like this story? Read more of WTOP’s Winter 2015 articles. And sign up for our email alerts to be notified of the latest school closings/delays, traffic incidents and other breaking news impacting your winter.

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