While a match has finally been made between Powerball players and that $1.6 billion, so far this month there’s been no such pairing up of precipitation with the cold, cold air needed to produce any accumulating snow.
Long Island MacArthur Airport has seen just traces on four days in January, with 6.7 inches the normal snowfall for the entire month. This follows the record warm December, which also recorded just a trace.
Given various forecasts, “the chance for much snow this month isn’t looking good,” though there is a question mark over end-of-January conditions, said Jessica Spaccio, climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center, based at Cornell University.
January’s “temperatures seem to be fluctuating between cold and warm, but the precipitation hasn’t lined up on the cold days,” Spaccio said.
Just imagine what Sunday’s 1.72 inches of rain would have been had the high and low temperatures that day been 30 degrees and 20, instead of 60 and 41. That much rain is estimated to be the equivalent of about 17 inches of snow — give or take.
Looking ahead through Wednesday, accumulating snow is not officially in the forecast, said Jay Engle, National Weather Service meteorologist based in Upton — that’s based on models and analysis as of Thursday afternoon. Still, “there are some disturbances that bear watching in the next ten days,” he said, with potential for very light snow on Sunday night.
Coming off a balmy December, Northeasterners “have been shivering” some days this month, said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s’ Climate Prediction Center, during Thursday’s El Niño outlook media call.
Characterized by warmer sea temperatures in the Pacific, El Niño is a climate pattern that can affect weather worldwide. The present El Niño, which developed last March, is now tied with that of 1997 to 1998 as the strongest on record, with reliable records going back to 1950, NOAA said.
Based on potential El Niño effects, as well as impacts from other climate forces, the center sees the odds tilting toward below normal temperatures for most of the Northeast through the end of next week, and shifting back to milder than normal for the entire January through March period. That time frame also brings a slight tilt toward wetter than normal conditions.
While no two El Niños, even strong ones, can be counted on to affect weather in the same ways thanks to other climate forces at play, we can note that Long Island’s snowfall in January of 1998 amounted to just a trace.