• Todd Yakoubian

New Winter Outlook.


As I always say, "There are no guarantees in weather until after it happens." I'm not going to sugarcoat it, winter weather lovers. Seeing a significant La Nina set up is discouraging. But don't give up. The average Little Rock snowfall for the winter season is around 3'' and that can happen in the blink of an eye. La Nina's are known for throwing extremes our way. That's nothing new to Arkansas. I have seen La Nina's produce wild winter weather, but those are the exception rather than the rule. The La Nina of 2010-2011 produced the most snowfall in Little Rock since 1988.


The one thing which does concern me greatly is the enhanced threat for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes during the winter and spring months of a La Nina.


Now onto the chance for wintry weather. Let's start off with the averages for reference.


The meteorologists at WeatherBell.com focus a great deal on seasonal forecasting. It's important to understand that while La Nina can be a big driver to how the atmosphere responds, there can be other mechanisms such as he EPO (Eastern Pacific Oscillation), the AO (Arctic Oscillation), and the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation). Since most of our planet is water, oceanic temperatures all over the globe can greatly influence weather patterns. It's not just the equatorial Pacific where we determine La Ninas, El Ninos, and La Nothings.


Here is WeatherBell.com and their forecast led by Chief Meteorologist Joe Bastardi.



Their forecast is not overpoweringly warm, but slightly above average over the course of meteorological winter (December - February).


The snowfall forecast is more tricky since we receive so little. It does not take much to bust a forecast.


Meteorologist James Bryant explains La Nina snow quite well in the tweet below

Can we end the snow drought? It has to happen at some point, right?

In summary, seasonal forecasting is extremely difficult. We can look at La Nina and El Nino all day long, but at the end of the day, there are other drivers to the atmosphere. I will say the equatorial pacific is a big one. Based on history, I do lean towards the scenario of slightly above average temperatures, below average precipitation, and more chances for severe weather.


Snow? Never say never to Arkansas weather. Don't forget ice. We already saw a big storm in Oklahoma in October. That doesn't mean it will happen here, but we haven't had a big ice storm since 2009 (northern Arkansas). Hope we don't get that. That's never good. We haven't had a big ice storm in central Arkansas since the back-to-back storms in December of 2000.



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