US: Winter 22/23 Long-Range Weather Forecast

Newsroom Long Range Forecast US: Winter 22/23 Long-Range Weather Forecast

Shorter days, cooler nights, and changing colors means fall is here. And with the fall season, means ski season isn’t far away. We’re looking forward to the 22/23 winter ski season now more than ever. We sat down with meteorologist Chris Tomer to get a pulse on what we can expect this season.

➽ What is the long-range winter 2022/2023 forecast?

There are numerous global factors that influence how much snow could fall across the United States each winter season.  Of all the factors, I like to analyze the water temperatures in the South Pacific near the Equator.  Water temperatures in this geographic area tend to affect the wintertime jet stream position in the United States.  Keep in mind this is a forecast.

August 2022 forecast model showing La Nina pattern
Graphic by Chris Tomer

The bulk of data suggests we’re headed into a cold phase also known as La Nina, which would be the third straight year.  Triple-dip La Ninas are rare, only occurring 3 times in the last 73 years. La Nina tends to organize the wintertime jet stream in a way that favors the Pacific Northwest and Northern Tier of states with the most consistent winter snowfall. On the other hand, La Nina tends to leave California and the Southern Tier of states drier and warmer than normal. This pattern is not conducive to atmospheric river setups, and drought can deepen as a result.

The Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) factors in five different variables and assigns a value. It’s currently the strongest (coldest, negative) value since 2010. The five variables MEI incorporates are sea level pressure (SLP), sea surface temperature (SST), zonal and meridional components of the surface wind, and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR)) over the tropical Pacific basin (30°S-30°N and 100°E-70°W). The MEI shows this dip is the strongest of the three dips so far, and the strongest triple dip La Nina since 2010.

Forecasted winter weather pattern in North America by meteorologist Chris Tomer
Graphic by Chris Tomer

➽ What will the snow be like for winter 2022/2023?

Most of the Intermountain West is in for an abnormally warm and dry September, October, and November. It will mirror the last few years with a large Western ridge of high pressure. The most consistent snow and cold temperatures will likely arrive in December as the jet stream finally dips south. However, it’s possible some forecast data is underestimating the strength of La Nina this fall and early winter.

Overall, the most consistent winter snowfall favors the northern tier of states, including the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, Alberta (Banff), Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. However, I don’t think the percentages exceed 110% of normal even in the best of circumstances.

Map of the American West with 2022-2023 snow forecast
Graphic by Chris Tomer

➽ Who will have a late start?

I’m forecasting an abnormally warm and dry fall season across the West, which will mean a late start to winter. Then winter should kick in by December and deliver a mostly normal winter snow season, especially in the Pacific Northwest and New England states. I don’t expect to see percentages exceed 100% of normal in most destinations. I’m forecasting that many western and southwestern ski resorts will see normal and below-normal snowfall, while the Pacific Northwest has the highest likelihood of above normal snowfall. Similarly, New England ski destinations should see normal to above-normal snowfall, with the northern states having the highest likelihood of above-normal snowfall. 
 
Map showing expect snowfall for the northeastern U.S. states for winter 2022-2023
Graphic by Chris Tomer
 

➽ Who will have the best Thanksgiving and Christmas snow?

If you’re planning a Thanksgiving or Christmas ski trip then look to Whistler/BlackcombMount BakerStevens PassCrystalHoodBachelorTimberlineBanffSun PeaksFernie AlpineKicking HorseRevelstokeBridger BowlSun ValleySchweitzerWhitefishBig SkyJackson Hole, and Grand Targhee.
 

➽ Who will the biggest winners be?

Overall, for the most consistent winter snowfall look to Whistler/Blackcomb, Banff, Kicking Horse, Fernie Alpine, Revelstoke, Big Sky, Bridger Bowl, Whitefish, Discovery, Schweitzer, Brundage, Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee, Sun Valley, Mount BakerStevens PassCrystal, and British Columbia ski resorts.
 
List of forecasted top snowfall resorts for 2022 and 2023 over background of ski resort
Graphic by Chris Tomer
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