BUFFALO, NY-- To forecast the weather in Western New York, we sometimes have to go to one of the warmest locations on the planet, the Pacific Ocean.
It can dictate the behavior of the jet stream, and right now, temperatures are cooling. That's called La Nina. It redistributes thunderstorms in the tropics, which can can change the direction and speed of the jet stream.
Right now, it's gathering in the Gulf of Alaska, and instead of plowing into California, it takes a more northerly track into Canada and then up through Western New York. That flow takes the coldest of the winter weather and puts it in the center part of the country. It's warmer to the south and to the west, which makes the temperature forecast tricky, because we are on the dividing line between cold and warm.
Our Storm Team 2 weather experts are out with their predictions for this winter. Kevin O'Connell is predicting a "normal" winter for Western New York. "A lot of people are familiar with the term lake effect. How fast can we put ice on top of Lake Erie to take it out of the mixture. I've got a feeling this is going to be a year that we see some lake ice, but here's my prediction, I'm going with 95 inches and a normal amount of temperatures," Kevin said.
Meteorologist Heather Waldman is predicting above normal temperatures and higher snowfall totals. "I think this year it's a different flavor. We've got more of a southwest flow, more lake effect from Buffalo north, and more winter storms coming through Western New York. I think that gives us 105 inches of snow at the airport and near to above normal temperatures," Heather said.
Meteorologist Patrick Hammer thinks Western New York will see a different type of La Nina. "We will have lake effect and a combination of a system snow with a larger area of pressure that gives everybody snow. Temperatures are tough. I think it's a little warmer than average. But my take is 101 inches."
The average snowfall in Buffalo is 94.7 inches.