After topping 60 degrees Monday, temperatures plunged overnight, inaugurating several days of December-like conditions for Lancaster County.
The Arctic air that was expected to drop temperatures into the 30s by this morning could also result in a few wet snowflakes during the morning commute, Millersville University meteorologist Eric Horst said.
“It’s not impossible there could be a coating on the grass somewhere,” Horst said Monday, while adding: “In terms of precipitation, it’s not a big deal.”
Yet for those who missed seeing the stray snowflakes around Lancaster last Friday, the snowfall will be the first of the season, even if it isn’t a measurable amount.
Lots of people are asking about the winter...so I give you two summary panels I prepared in October (for speaking engagements). With "neutral" ENSO, the signals are subtle to nebulous. How the next few weeks play out (thru end of December) is critical to the end game. Stay tuned! pic.twitter.com/g2JIsqiPlH— E. Horst, MUWIC (@MUweather) November 11, 2019
Looking ahead through the coming winter months, Horst says he doesn’t anticipate above-average snowfall. On the other hand, he doesn’t see below-average amounts either.
“There are no strong indicators and it’s probably a near-average winter,” Horst said. “The signals are nebulous.”
For Lancaster County, Horst said “near average” means something between 20 and 34 inches of total snow will fall between now and next April.
Horst is defaulting to predicting an average winter because he said El Niño, the Pacific ocean temperature variations that can indicate seasonal winter effects in the northeastern United States, are currently showing a neutral outlook.
A winter outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center says the neutral El Niño conditions are expected to persist into the spring, while also showing a warmer and wetter winter for much of the U.S.
Absent impacts from El Niño, Horst says winter weather in Lancaster County will likely depend on hit-or-miss clipper systems that can result in either rain or snow here.
And as is often the case for Lancaster County winters, Horst said the coming one is likely to consist of some cold snaps mixed with some unseasonably warm spells.
“Winters are highly variable here,” he said.
The seasonal weather roller coaster will be on display this week as the cold snap that begins Tuesday will moderate by Friday and then return somewhat over the weekend before temperatures warm once again next week, Horst said.