The National Weather Service in Buffalo describes the current winter season as “mild” and “below average,” but after an anticipated warmer weekend, temperatures and precipitation will then begin to be more in line with yearly averages.
“We’re just not getting enough temperature difference to get the colder temperatures for snow,” said meteorologist Elizabeth Jurkowski.
The average regional snowfall at this point in the season is 73 inches while Western New York has only observed 57 inches thus far. For yearly temperatures, the average for the area is about 26 degrees at this point while the current mean temperature for Western New York is 29 degrees.
“It’s an anomaly in most areas in Western New York,” Jurkowski said.
She said within the next month, area temperatures and precipitation should realign close to yearly averages.
“It’s probably going to stay around normal,” she said. “That’s for next month for temperature and precipitation slightly below average for precipitation.”
However, with the weekend’s forecast shows warmer weather. temperatures for today are expected to surpass 40 degrees, providing a “beautiful weekend,” Jurkowski said. Several systems are likely to drop the increasingly warm weather going into next week.
“I wish I could tell you,” Jurkowski joked when asked what is causing the low totals.
While weather officials are not entirely certain what is causing such a mild year in terms of precipitation and temperature, Jurkowski said ENSO (El Nino-Southern Oscillation) neutral conditions were likely to be a primary cause of Western New York’s low precipitation totals. According to the National Weather Service, ENSO “is a recurring climate pattern involving changes in the temperature of waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.”
Jurkowski explained that ENSO-neutral conditions occur when the oscillation coming from the Pacific is neither in a warm or cool phase as it moves across North America.
She reiterated that the region is “not getting enough of the temperature difference in the atmosphere so that we can get the jet stream that controls our weather to get to the colder temperatures and average precipitation with that.”