Winter outlook calls for average snow, extra-cold January

A worker with the National Park Service shovels snow from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Monday, Feb. 15, 2016. A late-season storm is dumping a messy mix of snow, sleet and rain on the mid-Atlantic, complicating travel, knocking out power and closing schools and government offices around the region. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON — Expect more snow this winter compared to last, and a big chill in January. That’s the prediction from NBC Washington’s chief meteorologist Doug Kammerer in his latest Storm Team 4 Winter Weather Outlook.

NBC Washington’s chief meteorologist Doug Kammerer is also predicting average amounts of snow for the D.C. region, but that would be more than last winter. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

A weak to moderate La Nina that’s shaping up right now normally means less snow and warmer winter temperatures for the D.C. region, but another factor that goes into the winter forecast is the amount of snow cover in Siberia during October.

“This year, that snow cover’s above average, so that helps us to get cold and snow. And the North American snow cover, meaning the snow cover up in Alaska and Canada, is way above where it’s been over the past couple of years,” Kammerer said.

“So that tells us we’re going to have some cold outbreaks here.”

He’s calling for average temperatures in December, a colder than usual January, an average to slightly below average February, and March temperatures well above average.

Kammerer also predicted average amounts of snow for the D.C. region, but that would be more than last winter.

“Last year, we only had 3.4 inches of snow (at Reagan National Airport). That’s way below average. This year, I’m going for about 11 to 19 inches in the city, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we had one or two storms that helped us to get above that,” he said.

The Storm Team 4 Winter Weather Outlook also calls for:

  • 7-12 inches of snow in southern areas, including Waldorf and Leonardtown
  • 16-26 inches in and around the Dulles area and parts of central Montgomery County
  • 22-34 inches in places further west of the city, such as Frederick, Winchester and Hagerstown

“I think (there’s) a little bit of an increased chance for a white Christmas — that’s some good news there,” Kammerer said.

But it’s in early 2018 that he thinks the region could really see some flakes flying. “The first two weeks of January, that’s the time frame I’m really watching,” he said.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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