By John Ruggiano


November 04, 2015


From December 1, 2015 Through February 29, 2016 (Dec, Jan, Feb)

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A Strong El Nino Signal, along with an active STJ (Subtropical Jet), will bring stormy conditions across much of the Southern US, the Mid-Atlantic States, and parts of New England.

        This upcoming 2015-2016 winter season, will be quite a switch from the last 2 winter seasons. For the most part, during last year, the heaviest snow and coldest temperatures were concentrated over the Midwest, Great Lakes, and the Northeast. This was mainly due to, a very persistent -EPO/+PNA signal which allowed very cold/Arctic air to drain Southeast into the Central and Eastern CONUS.

This year things will change, as the main storm track and stormier conditions will likely occur much further south, as our strong El Nino conditions, continue into much of the Winter Season. In most cases, with any Moderate to Strong El Nino, a very active subtropical jet can be expected.

A favorable and likely -EPO / + PNA signal will still be a big factor this winter, and will promote shots of cold and very cold air over the Central and Eastern CONUS, especially during January and February. The combination of this signal and the stronger El Nino will likely produce a few good Snowstorms for the Southern Tier, into The M/A, and parts of The Northeast. Once again, best chances will be the second half of Winter.

       The NAO and AO signals (Atlantic and Arctic) look to have a better chance to go Negative at times this winter, which will also aid for a colder air supply and more coastal storms for the Eastern CONUS.


   A more progressive and zonal Pattern is likely during December into Early January, with many storms cutting west of the Apps and into the Great Lakes and New England. This will result in an overall milder pattern with more rain and mixed events, over the Eastern ⅓ of the CONUS.  (See Storm Track # 3 on map).


   The other 2 mean storm tracks (See Storm Tracks #1 and #2 on Map) for the 2015-2016 Winter Season, will extend from the Southern Rockies, eastward to the SE States, and then mainly along and east of the Apps, through the M/A States and at times into SE New England. Many Storms will also develop near Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, then track east and northeast to the SE and M/A coastal areas. These Storm tracks will be most common during the second half of Winter.

Overrunning and WAA (Warm-Air Advection) events will be quite common from the Tenn/Lower Ohio Valleys and into the M/A States. This will also raise the flag for several Moderate to Severe Ice Storms, from the Southern Plains into the interior SE, and Parts of the M/A States. This is something to be aware of during this winter season. I expect plenty of this for the month of January and into much of February.

    Clipper type systems and strong cold fronts riding with the Polar Jet (P/J) and Arctic Jet (A/J) will be less common than the last couple of years. Sure, we’ll still have a fair amount of activity with the Northern branch, but most of the energy this year will come from the STJ and effects of the Strong El Nino, resulting in more southern storm systems. Some of these Southern systems will get a chance to phase with the Northern branch energy, so I expect several good east coast storms, mainly in January and February  !

This year I’m forecasting “Above Normal Snowfall” to be concentrated in two general areas: One area will be over the Southern Rockies into the Southern/Central Plains. The second area will be from a good chunk of the Deep South, The Tenn/Lower Ohio Valley’s, The interior SE, and the interior M/A States.

   All other areas will see “Near Normal Snowfall”, with the exception of the NW PAC, The Northern Rockies, and Northern Plains, where I’m forecasting “Below Normal Snowfall”. (See Snowfall Map)

This winter will not see any set pattern with temperatures ! There will be plenty of both Mild and colder periods, with more mild periods during the first half of winter (Dec into early Jan) and more colder and stormy periods, from Mid January into mid March.

My Winter Forecast for The Mid-Atlantic States (M/A) and Virginia !

The M/A States and VA will see Near Normal Temps of (-1 to +1) and Near to Slightly Above Normal Snowfall (100% to 135% of Normal Snowfall) for the 2015-2016 Winter Season ! Parts of Southern WV and the mountains of far SW VA, will see colder temps of (-1 to -3) and Above Normal Snowfall (125% to 150 % of normal snowfall).

The winter season will start off rather slow with December being the mildest of the 3 winter months with Above Average temps and below to near normal snowfall.  January will be near normal with variable conditions, and February will be colder than Average with Above normal snowfall. February will be the coldest and snowiest month.    As a bonus for snow fans, this  colder and snowy pattern looks to continue into early March.


   Please pay close attention to the monthly breakdowns and understand that the temperature maps are an average of the 3 winter months of Dec, Jan, and Feb. If your region shows near or below normal temps on the map that doesn’t mean you won’t have very mild or cold periods during this 3 month stretch. So, the monthly breakdowns are a better reflection of what to expect.

Here’s a breakdown for each month for the M/A Region, along with some forecasts for some selected areas.

December 2015

Temps: Above Avg. (+2 to +4)

Precip: Near Normal.

Snowfall: Below to Near Normal

January 2016

Temps: Near Avg. (-1 to +1)

Precip: Above Normal.

Snowfall: Near to Above Normal

February 2016

Temps: Below Avg. (-2 to -4)

Precip: Above Normal.

Snowfall: Above to Much Above Normal

My Forecast for Lynchburg, VA. (LYH)

Dec 01, 2015 – Feb 28, 2016  (Dec, Jan, Feb)

Mean Temperature: -1.0 F

(Near to Slightly Below Avg.)

Mean Temp Range:  -1.0 to +1.0 F

(Near Avg)

Total Snowfall Range:  20″ to 28″

(Above Normal)  Normal Snowfall is 17” for LYH VA.

Target Snowfall Prediction:  24″

Total Precipitation: Above Avg.

ROA  (Roanoke, VA)

Temps: -1.0 to +1.0 F (Near Avg.)

Total Snowfall: 24″ to 32″ (Above Normal)

Overall Forecast: Temps: -1.0 F / Snowfall: 28″

CHO  (Charlottesville, VA)

Temps: -1.0 to +1.0 F (Near Avg.)

Total Snowfall: 20″ to 28″ (Above Normal)

Overall Forecast: Temps: -1.0 F / Snowfall: 25″

RIC  (Richmond, VA)

Temps: -1.0 to +1.0 F (Near Avg.)

Total Snowfall: 10″ to 16″ (Normal)

Overall Forecast: Temps: +1.0 F / Snowfall: 12″

DCA  (Washington DC)

Temps: -1.0 to +1.0 F (Near Avg.)

Total Snowfall: 18″ to 24″ (Above Normal)

Overall Forecast: Temps: 0.0 F / Snowfall: 20″

BWI  (Baltimore, MD)

Temps: -1.0 to +1.0 F (Near Avg.)

Total Snowfall: 20″ to 28″ (Above Normal)

Overall Forecast: Temps: 0.0 F / Snowfall: 23″

PHL   (Philadelphia, PA) 

Temps: -1.0 to +1.0 F (Near Avg.)

Total Snowfall: 22″ to 30″ (Slightly Above Normal)

Overall Forecast: Temps: +1.0 F / Snowfall: 26″

NYC   (New York City, NY) 

Temps: -1.0 to +1.0 F (Near Avg.)

Total Snowfall: 24″ to 32″ (Near Normal)

Overall Forecast: Temps: +1.0 F / Snowfall: 28″


In this segment, I’ve attached all my maps to summarize my overall Winter Outlook. Please see the (4) maps below: Temperature, Precipitation, Snowfall, and Overall Storm Tracks. These maps best illustrate my outlook for the Months of: December, January, and February.

Take Care,

John Ruggiano (Ruggie)


2015-2016 Precip Map


2015-2016 Precip Map

2015-2016 Precip Map

2015-2016 Precip Map