TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - This fall has been one of the warmest on record here in Toledo with September through November having above average temperatures. But a warm fall has no direct correlation to a warm/mild winter ahead.
One thing that does look more likely this winter is a stormy pattern. That was evident this past week when we broke a record high on Friday and saw snowflakes the very next day!
Right now, Lake Erie is running at its warmest level in more than 5 years.
It's not alone either.
For late November, the Great Lakes are running at near record warm temperatures.
That gives us clues for the early winter outlook: when cold air does arrive, increased lake effect snow is likely.
While we aren't in the favorable Snow Belt here in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, it does mean traveling around the Great Lakes could be more difficult.
Warmer lake temperatures also can shield the Toledo area if intense cold air dives in from the North Pole. That continues until the lakes begin to ice over.
Our outlook this winter has an increased chance for storms because of a La Niña pattern in the central Pacific Ocean.
La Niña is the exact opposite of El Niño. It pushes the Jet Stream across North America to increase storms in the Midwest and more often than not will lead to dramatic temperature swings.
The First Alert Weather team is forecasting above average snow this winter in the 40-45 inch range. A normal winter is slightly below that number near 37 inches.