Missourians can expect slightly colder weather this winter, and an average accumulation of snow.

Tony Lupo -professor of atmospheric science - University of Missouri (photo courtesy of MU

Tony Lupo -professor of atmospheric science – University of Missouri (photo courtesy of MU

Tony Lupo is a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Missouri.  He says this winter’s weather is dependent on what takes place with air in the west.  “In the Pacific region we’re trending toward La Nina conditions” said Lupo.  “What that tends to do is set up a jet stream pattern that favors colder air coming down from the Arctic region in central Canada into the central United States.”

Lupo says the colder air will cause the state’s average temperature to drop from 32-to-30 degrees.  He thinks Missourians will perceive the upcoming winter to be especially cold because it was unusually warm last year.  He notes people get accustomed to weather quickly, and if the previous winter was abnormally warm, then a marginally cooler winter will seem much colder to people.

The state’s snowfall is predicted to be in the normal range if 15-20 inches for the three months of December, January and February.  However, Lupo says those numbers represents the central part of Missouri, not the whole state.  “Snowfall amounts in our state tend to vary from 45-50 inches in the northwest corner of the state, as to way down to, say, 5-10 inches in the southeast corner of our state.”

The southern part of Missouri also tends to get more ice storms and less snow due to the way cold air settles into the continental United States and is met by warm gulf air.

The colder than normal winter will translate to a drop in average temperature from 32-to-30 degrees.  During the three months between December and February, highs will be in the lower 40’s, while lows will dip to the lower 20’s.

Even though he predicting a slightly colder winter, Lupo says it won’t be felt initially because lower temperatures will be delayed by a historically warm fall.  “It’s going to take awhile for the colder weather to set in” said Lupo.  “December may start off pretty warm, but we expect that by January, February, things should be on the colder side, a little colder than normal.”

Lupo says this fall will go down as the third warmest on record because of a jet stream pattern which has left North America and Europe with higher temperatures.

With the colder weather on the horizon, Lupo thinks it’s important to be prepared to protect yourself from the elements.

“You want to have some things on hand like candles and blankets, put some of that in your car just in case,” Lupo said. “Carry some kitty litter or sand in the back of your trunk. It helps with the weight and, if you are stuck, you can use some of it under your tires to give you traction.