If you’re not yet ready to start thinking about terms like “polar vortex” or “snowpocalypse” you’re in luck: The good people at AccuWeather have released their official U.S. Winter Forecast for 2015-16 and the outlook for New Yorkers is, well, less shitty than we’ve come to expect.
The optimistic forecast is in direct conflict with that of the Farmer’s Almanac, which has forecasted another abysmal winter in New York and New England. But according to AccuWeather, the season is expected to “kick off with mild weather” in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions thanks to a massive El Niño that will trigger powerful weather events elsewhere in the world, but will help keep temperatures in New York much warmer than we’ve seen the last few winters. You remember the highlights: there was the second-coldest winter in the city’s history (last year), the one with the snowstorm that wouldn’t die (2013), the one that started on fucking Halloween (2011).
But those winters are relegated to the annals of history, this year we’ll find ourselves worried more about rain than massive amounts of snowfall, says Carl Erickson, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather. The El Niño, which creates a fast west-to-east airflow across the United States, will effectively trap the colder Arctic air over Canada, leaving us with warmer temperatures, but more rain.
“The El Niño is good for us if you don’t like snow and you like mild winters,” Erickson says. “But we’re still anticipating above-average precipitation, it’s just more likely it will be in the form of some rain events — especially in the early parts of the year.”
But skiing enthusiasts should not fear — Erickson says Accuweather is still predicting “about average” snowfall for the New York region (which amounts to between two and three inches in the city and between three and four inches in the suburbs), and above-average accumulation in the mountains of New England. So we may still have plenty of rainy, sleety, white-knuckle slogs up to Killington to look forward to this year. But it’s better than this:
Update, December 2, 2015: The nice folks at AccuWeather have doubled-down on their promise that El Niño will make this winter less of a crap fest, showing that the polar vortex should be “locked up” through December and January. So, huzzah… again?