WeatherWeather Science


Winter outlook still banking on "dry" La Nina conditions

Meteorological Winter
Average Winter Snowfall
Winter Precipitation Outlook
Winter Temperature Outlook
Posted at 6:33 PM, Nov 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-14 20:33:40-05

If the cold weather this past week has you reaching into your closet for your winter coat, you're probably not alone.

While the Winter Solstice is still more than a month away, we're now getting closer to the start of meteorological winter.

That begins December 1st, and runs through the end of February.

Meteorological seasons are based on annual temperature cycles rather than the position of Earth relative to the sun.

That's what regular, or astronomical seasons are based on.

Meteorological seasons allow for more consistent and precise record keeping, which makes it easier to calculate climate statistics.

This is especially useful for the agriculture and commerce industries.

Meteorological Winter
Meteorological winter vs. astronomical winter

On average from December to February, we typically see around 13.5" to 14.5" of snow.

That's nearly 42% of our seasonal average in Colorado Springs, and for Pueblo, it's just over half.

Last winter, the Colorado Springs Airport reported above average winter snowfall, while Pueblo came up just short of the norm.

Average Winter Snowfall
Average Winter Snowfall for Colorado Springs & Pueblo (December to February)

Now that we've laid out some baseline figures, let's look at the Climate Prediction Center's outlook for snow this winter.

With La Nina back again this winter, the latest outlook for Southern Colorado currently sits in favor of slightly below average snowfall through the end of February.

The odds for a super dry winter actually increase to our south while the potential for a snowy winter improve up across the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies.

Winter Precipitation Outlook
Climate Prediction Center Precipitation Outlook - Winter 2022/2023

Temperature wise...the outlook for us locally is trending towards warmer than average temperatures for parts of Southern Colorado this winter.

Again, that's a common signature for La Nina.

It's important to note that outlooks like these only show us future conditions relative to the norm.

Whereas the purpose of a forecast is to predict day to day changes...such as daily highs and lows, snow probability and snow amounts.