Will winter return with a vengeance?
JANESVILLE The winter of 2011-12 was unusual for many parts of the United States.
"For a large portion of this country, it ended up being the warmest winter we've seen in the last 50 to 60 years," said Jack Boston, expert senior meteorologist at AccuWeather in State College, Pa.
So after the rare, mild winter of 2011-12, the big question on many people's minds is this: Will winter return with a vengeance in 2012-2013?
To get an indication, we talked to the experts:
n AccuWeather, State College, Pa.
Last year's mild winter is "definitely not going to happen this winter," Boston said.
Even though Janesville can expect below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures, "it's not going to be nearly as mild as last winter. But it also is not going to be anywhere near one of our worst winters, either," he said.
"It's going to be a little less snow than normal and a little bit above normal temperatures," Boston said.
According to AccuWeather, average winter high and low temperatures in Janesville are 34.7 and 17.5 degrees, while the normal snowfall in Janesville from October through March is 33.9 inches, he said.
Overall, AccuWeather is expecting this winter to be influenced by a weak El Nino with a tendency for snowstorms to miss southern Wisconsin.
"The storms you do get sometimes are those little Alberta clippers that bring 2 to 3 inches of fluff. You'll probably see a few of those. But I definitely don't think you'll see the big ones that come roaring out of the plains and dump a foot," he said.
"Temperatures most likely are going to average about 1 degree above normal for the entire winter. And as far as precipitation goes, we think that's going to be below normal," Boston said.
-- The Farmers' Almanac
Based on the almanac's time-tested secret formula, Janesville will experience a "cold and snowy" winter.
"Across the eastern and central parts of the country—chiefly those areas to the east of the Rocky Mountains—it will be a colder than normal winter, with many locations experiencing above-normal precipitation.
"From the Great Lakes into Northeast, snowier than normal conditions are expected. Winter temperatures should also average from two to four degrees below normal over the eastern two-thirds of the country, and unseasonably chilly temperatures will reach as far south as the Gulf Coast."
-- The Old Farmer's Almanac
Forecasts, also derived from a secret formula that has been refined and enhanced with state-of-the-art technology and modern scientific calculations, predict "above-normal temperatures" for this area with the "coldest periods from late December through early January and in mid-January and early and mid-February."
Also, "precipitation and snowfall will generally be below normal with the snowiest periods in early to mid-November, early January and early February."
-- National Weather Service, Sullivan
Although the climate prediction center's official winter outlook comes out later this week, Ed Townsend, meteorologist, said "a mild, dry winter" has been forecast for southern Wisconsin, including Janesville.
"The chances are 40 percent greater to have above-normal temps (of 25.6 degrees) and 30 percent less for below normal temps," he said. Snowfalls here "have equal chances for above, below and near normal snowfall."