Why the groundhog's forecast is a little off - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Why the groundhog's forecast is a little off

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Thursday and forecasted six more weeks of winter. While he is a cute groundhog, he’s not the best meteorologist.

Phil should have noted that things have been quite warm for many across the United States this winter. Many locations saw above average temperatures in January. In Cincinnati for example, we finished January 6.7 degrees above normal. Even December wasn’t that bad here; only 0.4 degrees below normal.
 
In meteorology the trend is often your friend. While there will be cold shots in February, long range models are showing above average temperatures persisting for nearly the entire country. This has prompted the Climate Prediction Center to give Cincinnati a 40 percent chance of temperatures being above average.
 
Looking ahead to March and April, we expect to see a transition from La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean to neutral conditions. This should cause the jet stream pattern to return to normal as well, but there may be a lag. That’s why we’re still keeping La Nina in mind when making the forecast for the three month period of February, March, and April. Warmer than normal temperatures are still quite likely across the South, but should be close to normal in our area.

So six more weeks of winter? Sure, it will still be cold at times through March as it always is. But will the cold and snow be intense? Not likely.
 
While this isn’t good news for snow lovers, precipitation is expected to still be above average during this same period. If we can finally get a shot of cold air to occur when the moisture is present, we may still squeeze out a big snow in the Tri-State this winter.

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