2009-2010 Winter Forecast

Winter Forecast

The Super Doppler Storm Team has been hard at work over the past few sunny and warm days putting together the winter forecast. The temperature forecast for Eastern Oklahoma and Western Arkansas this winter is near average. The active storm track across the southern part of the country will lead to colder than normal conditions to our south and east. Above normal temperatures are expected for areas to our north and west.


Precipitation across Eastern Oklahoma and Western Arkansas is expected to be near average. Snowfall is also expected to be near average across the area. The River Valley averages about 3 -7″ of snow a year, northwest Arkansas averages between 6 – 10″ of snowfall a year with Gravette picking up the most snow each season with an average of 16.2″ each season. Although snowfall is expected to be near average this winter, that would still be the most snow the area has seen in a decade. The 1999-2000 winter season is the last time the area has picked up above average snowfall totals including 11″ in Fort Smith.

Around the nation, Southern California is expected to see significant rains while the Pacific Northwest will stay much drier than average. The Midwest will likely break a streak of harsh winters with warm and dry conditions this season. Severe weather and heavy rains will likely cause problems in Florida while the Appalachians and Northeast will see a harsh winter with several Nor’ Easters possible.


Ingredients Leading To This Winter’s Forecast

There are a few key factors that will impact the winter forecast. The biggest factor will be the development of a moderate El Nino. Another big factor impacting the forecast is the persistent negative NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation), which is a deep trough over the eastern 1/2 of the country. This feature is one reason why we have had such a cold and wet late summer and fall thus far. Fall has been wet here at home but very wintery in eastern Canada where the snow pack is getting an early boost. This is very important because large areas of snow cover can turn a cool air mass into a frigid arctic blast that dives deep into the southern part of the United States. This could be a big warning sign for us, but more importantly it could lead to a harsh start to the winter for areas to our northeast. We are also in a deep solar minimum which globally leads to slightly cooler conditions compared to a solar maximum, this may or may not have an impact for us here at home.

Winter’s Of The Past

After taking all of this data we found 14 years since 1950 that have had similar set ups. Out of these 14 years, 7 of them had a similar summer and fall pattern compared to this year. These 7 winter seasons then became our analog years. This helped give us some insight into the upcoming winter’s forecast. Here are the averages of our 7 analog years.



The 7 analog years are 2004-05, 2002-03, 1994-95, 1991-92, 1976-77, 1969-70, and 1957-58. Out of these years 2004-05 and 1991-92 were 5.4 degrees and 3.8 degrees above normal respectively and nearly snow less in the river valley and significantly below average in northwest Arkansas. On the other hand 1976-77 and 2002-03 were 5.4 degrees and 3.0 degrees below normal respectively and 1976-77 dropped more than 3 times the winter’s average snowfall with a snow depth topping a foot for much of the viewing area for more than a week in January.

Detailed Forecast By Month


December will be a very active month with several powerful storm systems taking a southern track and moving toward the northeast. It will likely be warmer than normal here at home and wetter than average across the river valley with near average precipitation in northwest Arkansas. The Midwest will see warm and dry conditions. Below is what happened during our analog years.




The overall weather pattern across the country will be calmer in January with very cold weather developing. January will be colder than normal here at home with the Pacific Northwest staying very warm. Below is what happened with temperatures during our analog years.



Near seasonable weather is expected here at home with no clear signal to whether it will be an active month.


An active weather pattern takes back over the country in March with colder than normal conditions here at home. Precipitation is expected to be near average across Oklahoma and Arkansas. Below is what happened with precipitation during our analog years.


Ross Ellet


6 Responses

  1. Great blog Ross!

  2. Will we have any big snow storm coming our way this year or a Texarkana low were we get most of our heavy snows Thank you very much

  3. Brandon,

    It is impossible to know at this point. We should have an average winter more or less. So in other words we have an average chance of seeing a big snowstorm this winter. In our area we see a snowfall of 6″+ about once every 4 years on average.

    Ross Ellet

  4. I looked at the 1995, 2000 and 2005 winter pictures on a site of Northwest Arkansas, and each of those years we had snow storms that had dumped 5or more inches of snow at one time well this 2010winter would be another five year gap so i think in the sequence we could see a big snow…

  5. With your permission, I’ll make my Ouachita Region Winter forecast! I think temps will average somewhat below normal with well above average precip; the potential for more snow/ice than normal.

  6. The official persimmon forecast is a spoon: breakout the snow shovels in Benton County….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: