Winter forecast: This winter will be snowier than last

WASHINGTON — Get your shovels ready, because this winter could be snowier than usual for the D.C. region.

“What we’re predicting in the D.C. metro area is above average,” NBC Washington Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer tells WTOP about this year’s Storm Team 4 winter forecast.

“Normally we get about 15 inches a year, and we’re going for 20 to 25 inches of snowfall,” he says.

“To the west, and we’re talking about areas like Dulles Airport out toward Frederick, I’m going [with] anywhere between 30 and 50 inches of snow.”

Kammerer thinks Southern Maryland will also get more snow than usual, but probably between 10 to 15 inches total.

But the most snow in the region probably won’t appear until after the start of 2016.

“One thing that has become very clear is that the rest of November and most of December is looking very warm,” says Kammerer.

“I think we’re going to have a warm December, and that means less of a chance of a white Christmas. Sorry about that — a lot of people are already asking me about that.”

Kammerer says the El Nino this year is one of the strongest on record.

“We’ve had two El Ninos of this magnitude before, and that was 1982-1983, and 1997-1998,” he says.

In the winter of ’82-’83, some parts of the area saw more than 2 feet of snow. But in ’97-’98, D.C. received only 1/10 of an inch of snow the entire season.

“So it’s feast or famine with this strong of an El Nino,” Kammerer says. “But there’s something going on, I think, with the El Nino. And it is forecast to weaken as we move toward December, as we move toward January and as we move toward the critical month of late January and into February. That’s where we get most of our snow. I really think that late January and February, we have the potential for some pretty big snowstorms.”

What isn’t clear is whether the late winter storms he’s expecting will hit or miss the capital region, Kammerer says.

“Last year we had 18 inches of snow here in D.C. Those storms phased just enough so that Boston saw over 100 inches of snow. So they got demolished, where we saw just a little bit above-average snowfall. So it’s all about where that phase takes place. Does it happen just south of us? Because we need it to happen right around North Carolina. If it happens there, we get big snows. If it happens in Maryland or Delaware, then that’s when New York or Boston will see those bigger snowfalls.”

Kammerer, who grew up in Herndon, is a big fan of snow. So the potential for some big storms this year makes him smile.

“I’m excited about that for me, I’m excited about that for my kids. My son is 8 and my daughter is 6, and I want to throw them into 2 feet of snow. And I think this year we actually have a chance that we might get that.”

Watch Kammerer’s snow prediction:

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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