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Where is winter’s snow and cold?

With a third of January over, there’s a few things that are meteorologically interesting

Pedestrians traveled through a light snow-rain mix in the late afternoon in Boston on Jan. 3.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Did you see the pictures of snow in Spain over the weekend? Yes, indeed parts of Europe were thrust into a winter wonderland while here in New England it still looks like November.

Although there were a lot of clouds during the day today, temperatures were again above average. With a third of January over, there are a few things that have struck me as meteorologically interesting. The nights have been pretty mild. Worcester has not gone below 20 degrees so far this month. When you think about the potential for cold this time of year, this fact seems pretty remarkable. Although daily high temperatures have also been above average, it’s those nights that have been driving the warmth even more.


The city of Worcester is running over 6 degrees above average this month.NOAA Data

We’ve also been dry the past week, but this time of the year we can make up a lot of precipitation in a short amount of time, so I don’t think it’s really anything that alarming. It looks to me like we will see a few showers sometime Friday or Saturday as a cold front approaches the area. This front may allow a wave of low pressure to develop and bring a little more rain to northern New England which could ultimately change over to snow in the mountains before coming to an end. The total predicted precipitation into the next week keeps the West Coast wet and not much precipitation in the middle of the country or in our area.

The heaviest precipitation into the next week remains over the South and West.Weather.US

In spite of the lack of natural snow, there hasn’t been any tremendous warmth, so ski areas have been able to make snow and, all things considered, conditions are actually surprisingly good. There was actually some snow over the weekend in Texas. As a result of that unusual storm, there’s a swath of snow on the ground across that state while we here in southern New England remain bare.


Snow cover in the US as of early Monday.NOAA

Speaking of snow, the snow cover across the Northern Hemisphere seems to be pretty close to the average for the time of year. A lot of snow cover across this hemisphere would help to promote deeper cold air but when we have snow cover that’s average or a little below average.

Snow across the entire Northern Hemisphere is running a bit below several other years in the past two decades.NOAA

So where do we go from here?

You might remember that most forecasters were predicting a milder and somewhat less snowy winter than average. This doesn’t mean we’re not going to have a cold snap or some snow storms but so far the winter is actually turning out as expected.

The trend over the next 10 days continues to see milder than average conditions but even with warmer air, we can still see snow. I still think we have to wait until very late this month or even into February before there is a high potential for a deeper cold and therefore snowstorms. This is still weeks away of course, so snow lovers need to keep expectations in check.

The second half of January brings the chance for more storminess to New England.Tropical Tidbits