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La Niña pattern likely means mild winter for CNY, forecaster says

A neighborhood street covered in snow and a snow-covered sidewalk on Ostrom Avenue in Syracuse is marked with footprints.
Scott Willis
A snow-covered sidewalk with footprints marking how many people have struggled to walk along the path.

A forecaster with the National Weather Service thinks Central New York’s winter will be milder than usual this year.

The La Niña weather patterns in the upper atmosphere jet stream over the Northeast is showing milder patterns here and colder waters off the Pacific West Coast. It's the third year in a row the weather pattern has occurred and is known as a Triple Dip La Niña! But, Central New York is still expected to get its fair share of cold temperatures. South of New York State, several states are under frost and freeze warnings this weekend which shows the effects of the weather pattern can vary greatly, depending on where you live.

National Weather Service meteorologist Mitchell Gaines and a team of meteorologists at their headquarters in Binghamtonuse their skills and computer models from the Climate Prediction Center to forecast the milder winter ahead.

“Leaning warmer than normal about 40% or so for the Syracuse area," Gaines said. "So the temperatures, whether they’re going to be above, near or colder than normal, as we head toward the upcoming winter.” 

However, Gaines adds that any changes now might throw off weather patterns for the rest of the fall and last into the winter season. He said meteorologists try to predict weather patterns one to three months beforehand and refer to their climate data archives.

"For a typical La Niña in our part of the country during the winter, typically run a little bit warmer than normal, as we get out toward, especially, the latter half of the winter," Gaines said. "Also, we tend to lean a little bit more toward wetter than normal precipitation for the winter.” 

Gaines said late January and early February might be the warmest stretch of the winter. He said the temperatures might increase by a degree or two more than the normal weather, meaning the area can still have traditional cold weather patterns and snow.

“Syracuse typically gets somewhere a little over 100 inches of snow per year," Gaines said. "Even though the last few of winters have been particularly meager with regards to snowfall, there still is a potential for fair amount of snow in the Syracuse area… around average, of course with the probability is it could go either way, below or above normal.”

Gaines said the winter high temperatures in the Syracuse area range approximately in the low to mid 30s, with nightly temperatures hovering in the mid to upper teens.

He encourages the public to plan ahead for plenty of cold weather by stocking up on supplies and other winter emergency resources. He said spring could also arrive earlier next year.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.
Alaina is a graduate student studying broadcast and digital journalism at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School Of Public Communications, expected to graduate May 2023. As a multimedioa reporter she helps produce audio and digital content for WAER. Alaina previously recieved her first masters in magazine, news, and digital journalism in May 2022 from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School Of Public Communications and she enjoys golfing and reading in her free time.