The signs are pointing to, yes, there will be winter

cpc winter temperature outlook 2015-2016

A probability map for winter temperatures December-February, adapted from a NOAA Climate Prediction Center map.

Living now in the Period of Continuous Weather Hype, you've probably heard that this is a strong El Nino year (a band of warmer than typical water in the Pacific off the coast of South America). And that somehow this is important for the upcoming winter because it will mean things. Probably.

The federal Climate Prediction Center recently posted a broad outlook for the upcoming winter that takes into account this year's strong El Nino. The bottom line for here? A 40 percent chance of warmer than average temps, and we're right on the border of projected area with a more than than 33 percent chance of higher than average precipitation.

So, maybe this winter will be a bit warmer and wetter. Or it won't. As a blogger over at the Climate.gov site recently wrote, "[S]ometimes El Niño is the bartender who doesn't bring you what you ordered."

And, of course, there are all sort of other moving parts to the weather. A few Nor'easters could closely track up the coast and hit us with 12-inch snow storms, making it an atypically snowy year. Or they could track farther out to sea. Or warmer winter weather could mean more freezing rain instead of snow. Or it could mean heavy snow. Because weather.

If you're curious, we've pulled the seasonal snowfall totals for Albany in El Nino seasons dating back to the 1950s...

Albany seasonal snowfall in El Nino seasons

El Nino seasons are pulled from this site, and Albany snowfall totals are from the NWS Albany site.

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