Snow or No? Comparing Three Predictions for the 2023-24 Indiana Winter
Whether you're a fan of Winter or not, there are a few questions you want the answers to as the coldest time of the year gets close; Will it snow? How much will it snow? And, when can we expect to see it? Even though the first day of Winter isn't until December 21st, a few weather prognosticators have already shared what they think Old Man Winter will have in store for the state of Indiana and others over the past couple of months based on weather models and other atmospheric data they have available to them. So, what do they say? Are our snow shovels going to get a workout this year? Or, will you need to bother getting it out of the garage? The answers depend on who you ask and which one you want to believe.
Comparing Three 2023-24 Winter Outlooks for Indiana
Since August, the Farmer's Almanac, Old Farmer's Almanac (yes, they are two different publications), and most recently the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center have all published what they believe the 2023-2024 Winter will bring the country. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at what each has said to see if it gives us any idea what to expect.
The El Niño Effect
Before we recap each individual outlook, it's important to note that each believes El Nino will have an impact on how the Winter season will play out. Here's a look at what an El Nino is and how it affects global weather patterns from Ali Van Fleet with The Weather Channel.
Farmer's Almanac 2023-24 Winter Outlook
Let's start with the first outlook released. The Farmer's Almanac published its outlook way back in early August. According to their data, Indiana and most of our neighbors in the Midwest could see "below-average temperatures and lots of snowstorms, sleet, ice, rain" based on its "mathematical and astronomical formula" which it claims is 80 to 85% accurate.
Old Farmer's Almanac 2023-24 Winter Outlook
Roughly six weeks after the Farmer's Almanac released its outlook, the Old Farmer's Almanac gave us what it believes will happen. Dubbed, "Winter Wonderland," the Old Farmer's Almanac also seems to think our snow shovels are going to get quite a bit of use this winter.
Based on their models, Indiana, along with a majority of the country will be dealing with "Cold and Snowy" conditions throughout the winter with the first snows expected to start falling as early as November and continue until the start of spring.
NOAA 2023-24 Winter Outlook
Chances are you know someone who always has to be the person who has a different opinion than everyone else. It could be a co-worker, a friend, a family member, or whomever. In this case that "someone" is NOAA.
The Administration's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) released its outlook earlier this week (October 19th, to be exact), and what it believes winter will look like for the Hoosier State is almost the complete opposite of what the two almanacs believe.
For starters, the CPC believes that El Nino will cause temperatures across the majority of the state to be anywhere between 33 and 40% above normal with the exception being the northeastern corner of the state where the probability of that being the case rises to between 40 and 50%.
Obviously, it's hard for any moisture in the air to turn to snow when temperatures are above what they normally would be which is reflected in the CPC's precipitation outlook.
Based on what its models show, the majority of Indiana has a 33 to 40% chance of seeing below-normal precipitation this winter. Exceptions are, again, the northeastern corner which it predicts will see a 40-50% below-normal chance, and the southwestern corner which it believes has the same chance of winter precipitation as it normally does.
It Will Be What It Will Be
Regardless of which outlook you hope will come true, I think it's important to keep in mind that all three are simply predictions. As we know all too well, weather patterns can change in an instant and no amount of fancy technology, atmospheric tracking, or whatever they use to create these forecasts will be 100% accurate. These are all merely the best guesses on what may happen. Granted, they are experts and have been doing this for decades, but it's entirely possible what they think may happen will never come to fruition.
As far as how to prepare for what winter may bring, if you've lived in Indiana long enough, you know your best bet is to be ready for anything at any time.
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Gallery Credit: Anuradha Varanasi