ABC6 WeatherLab - Winter Forecast, kind of
Much has been made of how cool it's been this Summer here in Southern New England. Providence has only had 4 days of 90+ degree heat, compared to 13 days last summer, and 10 days the summer before that. And now that the 3-month meteorological Summer has ended, we can look at the numbers. The average high this Summer was 80.5 degrees, while the average low was 61.1 degrees. That gives an average Summer temperature of 70.8 degrees, which is 1/2 of a degree cooler than normal. The word on the street is that when we have a cool Summer, it means we might have a cold Winter. So I did some number-crunching using the T.F. Green Airport weather archives. And what I found out is rather interesting. I decided to use a sample size of 50 years, from 1964 to 2014. First I found the five coolest Summers during that period, and then I found the corresponding temperatures for the following Winter. And lo and behold, the average Winter temperature following those 5 cool Summers was 30.0 degrees, which is almost 2 degrees cooler than normal. Yikes! So looking at those numbers, our chances are better than 50/50 of having a cooler than normal Winter 2014-15. Just for the heck of it, I also found the five hottest summers over the last 50 years, and what I found is also rather interesting. The average Winter temperature for the Winter season following those 5 hottest Summers was 31.2 degrees, which is about a 1/2 of a degree cooler than normal. So looking at the numbers, over the past 50 years, whether we have had a hot summer or a cool summer, the following Winter has been cooler than normal. But when you have a cool summer, the numbers show that the following Winter is quite a bit cooler than the Winter season which follows a hot summer. Now, I just checked the National Weather Service's climate prediction web site, and their official Winter Temperature Forecast for Southern New England for the 2014-15 Winter is, wait for it... NORMAL. That means their long-range computer models do not show a strong signal either way, so "NORMAL" is the resulting forecast. We'll have to wait and see how it pans out, and I'll have the results next Spring. Can't Wait. Until then, let's just enjoy Autumn, which incidentally is forecast to be warmer than normal.
-Kevin Coskren, ABC6 StormTracker WeatherTeam