PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Winter doesn’t officially arrive until December 21, but it certainly felt like it was here Wednesday morning when a 108 year old record low was broken in Pittsburgh.
While it will warm up Thursday, winter will be here for the long haul soon.
Long-Range Forecasting Team leader Paul Pastelok says he expected a more “tranquil” November but “the exciting, extremes of October lingered into November.”
Meteorologist Dean DeVore says the key is what the polar vortex does up north.
Pastelok says the vortex is considered strong, meaning the air is more likely to be trapped in Canada and the Artic but there are factors that will cause the vortex to visit Pittsburgh.
Warmer waters in the northern Pacific Ocean are causing a high pressure system around which Pastelok says can disrupt the vortex from time to time this winter.
“That’s going to occasionally happen this year and that’s going to penetrate and it’s going to also affect the polar vortex, weaken it and allow cold air to come down from time to time.”
DeVore says Pittsburgh is in a unique area because we can get hit with lake effect snow along with getting “trapped between a cutter or a coastal storm where they can get some snow too.”
Pastelok says he believes the area will get both kinds of snow.
“I think they get some lake effect because of the direction of the wind that’s going to set up for lake effect to come down to the northern suburbs especially also we’re going to see a storm track that’s not getting off-shore clearly its’ going to kind of cut up from the south that puts them in a good position to get snow.
The average is 41 inches for Pittsburgh.
Last year we saw 36.6 inches and Pastelok predicts we could see 50 inches of snow or more.
“It depends on how much cold is around in January I do feel there will be enough around and February right now looks like the coldest and stormiest month.”