National Weather Service Meteorologist Andy Boxell isn’t expecting another repeat of last year’s winter weather, when the nation experienced the fourth warmest winter on record and many people were left wondering where all the snow went.
“We were certainly dryer and warmer than normal,” Boxell said.
According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, Missouri experienced a “much above normal” winter and on a scale of 1 to 117, one being the coolest winter on record and 117 being the warmest, Missouri scored a 115.
“Last year, during the winter, we never had a lot of that cold air come down,” he said. “Last year was one of those on the more extreme ends.”
This year, though, winter weather is going to be harder to predict, but Boxell indicated the Tri-Lakes Area is in store for a “normal” winter, which can bring some “wild swings” to the Ozarks.
“There could be the whole range,” Boxell said, explaining people could see everything from snow and ice to warm, sunny days. “There could be some warm periods and some colder periods.”
He said El Niño and La Niña currently don’t appear to be factors influencing the weather, and the lack of an El Niño or a La Niña event heading into winter means less predictable winter climate conditions.
La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, compared to El Niño, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, according to NOAA.
“Without that in place, things will be, in large, more normal,” Boxell said. “A normal Ozarks winter can bring snow, ice, storms and all of the above.”
So what is normal for the Ozarks?
Boxell said the average snowfall totals for the Tri-Lakes Area is nearly 20 inches. The average high temperatures range in the mid-40s. January’s average high temperature is usually 42 degrees and February’s high averages 48 degrees. January’s average low is 22 degrees and February’s average low is 26 degrees.
“The averages tend to be pretty moderate,” he said.