We're not even halfway through winter, but it is already shaping up to be one of the region's coldest and snowiest.
On the heels of the third noteworthy snow event for the Local 6 region this winter, this season is already shaping up to be in the top 10 both in terms of cold temperatures and total snowfall. For the Paducah area, the average temperature from Dec. 1-Jan. 20 is 31.4 degrees. (Average temperature is found by taking the high and low for each day, averaging those two numbers, then averaging each daily average over a certain time span.) This is the 6th coldest ranking since 1937. The coldest such period is 27.6 degrees in 2001.
As for snowfall, the Paducah area has received 8.6 inches, making this the 8th snowiest start to the winter season. The snowiest such period on record was 18.7 inches in 1977-1978. The average snowfall for an entire winter at Paducah is only 9.6 inches.
Looking ahead to the rest of the winter, there are a couple of different factors in play. While we are still in a La Nina pattern (which by itself would lead to warmer and wetter than normal conditions), the dominant element in our weather pattern this winter has been the presence of a massive area of high pressure over Greenland, way up in the north Atlantic. This high, called a "Greenland Block", blocks the jet stream from flowing west to east, and sends it diving south into the eastern U.S.....bringing arctic cold along with it. These blocking patterns can tend to persist for long periods of time, and there isn't anything to indicate that changes will come anytime soon. With that in mind, the latest 8-14 temperature outlook from NOAA includes a strong likelihood of below normal temperatures, and the newest February outlook from NOAA also includes a forecast for below normal temperatures.