Winter Forecast Projects Colder and Wetter Weather Conditions
Georgia’s winter weather outlook shows chance of colder weather and heavier precipitation than previous years
(ATLANTA) – Over recent years, Georgia’s winter seasons have consisted of progressively colder temperatures, heavier amounts of snow and thicker layers of ice. Since 1929, Atlanta has averaged 2 inches of snow per year but the average has increased to 3.4 inches over the past five years.
According to the NOAA Climate Prediction Center winter outlook, the pattern of colder temperatures and above normal chances of precipitation is likely to continue during the upcoming winter.
“The overwhelming majority of forecasts out there point to colder than normal temperatures in the east and above normal precipitation across the southern states,” said Keith Stellman, meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City. “This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to snow more, but the potential for snow may exist more often since the conditions would be in place.”
While research continues into what the upcoming winter season might have in store, one key factor meteorologists examine when creating long-range outlooks is the existing snowpack in Siberia. Research shows a relationship between the size of the Siberian snowpack in October and the amount of arctic air buildup and its accompanying impact on the Jetstream flow. The October 2014 Siberian snowpack was the second highest on record since 1967 with only the winter of 1976 having more. That could mean a cold, wet winter is in store.
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA) also advises Georgians to better educate themselves in regards to the correct definition and meaning of the term polar vortex. Polar vortex describes a very large low-pressure system over the Hudson Bay region in Canada that sinks south into the Great Lakes region, ushering arctic air southward into the United States, particularly the central or eastern half.
“The term polar vortex has been widely used – and misused — over the course of the past year,” Stellman said. “Georgians can rest assured, though, that if they hear that term in a forecast that cold or very cold temperatures are on the way.”
Georgians looking for more information on how to prepare, plan and stay informed about winter weather can visit ready.ga.gov. For preparedness and weather alerts on the go, download the recently upgraded Ready Georgia mobile app.
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About Ready Georgia
Ready Georgia is a statewide campaign designed to educate and empower Georgians to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, potential terrorist attacks and other large-scale emergencies. The campaign is a project of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and provides a local dimension to Ready America, a broader national campaign. Ready Georgia aims to prepare citizens for maintaining self-sufficiency for at least 72 hours following an emergency, and uses an interactive Web site, online community toolkit, broadcast and print advertising and public awareness media messaging to reach its audiences. Ready Georgia is also on Facebook and YouTube.