2013-2014 Winter Forecast For Northern Maine

This is our annual seasonal forecast covering the upcoming winter here in northern Maine. I have issued the forecast a little earlier this year as I actually expect some wintry weather towards the end of October. To be honest and up front right from the start, this has been a very difficult forecast to come up with as there are many different factors weighing against and towards a cold and snowy winter while other factors lead to a mild winter with less snow than average. So, here is my best stab at it month by month.

October: Temperatures for October should average out near average, if not even a little above average overall. The mild to warm weather we are currently experiencing is likely to continue through about the 10th to 15th of the month with plenty of 60 to 70 degree high temperatures expected. Temperatures are expected to cool off into the 40s and 50s during the day and into the 30s at night during the second half of October.

For the heating professions, such as oil companies: I predict that we will have between 650 and 675 heating degree days for October. Based on this, you should use about the normal amount of heating products you normally would use during October.

I do think we will see our first measurable snowfall between October 20th and October 31st. Past years that are similar to this one point to roughly a 1 to 3 inch snowfall during this timeframe. Based on this, I am going to go with between 1.5 and 2.0 inches of snow for the month of October, to fall between October 20th and October 31st.

November: For temperatures, November should wind up being a little below average with a cold start to the month and a cold end to the month; however, a mild spell with perhaps 50 to 60 degree high temperatures are possible during the middle part of November.

For the heating professions, such as oil companies, my thinking is that we wind up with around 1075 heating degree days in November. Based on this forecast, you should use about 5 percent more heating products than average during November.

A dry month in terms of both rainfall and snowfall is forecast for November. Rainfall is forecast to be at least 1 to 1.50 inches below average and snowfall for November is forecast to be between 3.5 and 4.0 inches for the month (normal snowfall for November is 10.5 inches).

December: December is forecast to be a little colder than average with signals pointing to a cold snap during the week between Christmas and the New Year. There are no signals in the data I used to point to any significant or unusual temperature anomalies, however, prepare for a week between December 26th and January 1st that temperatures struggle to make it to 10 above zero during the day and fall to 10 to 20 below zero at night.

Heating degree days for December is expected to be right around 1500 heating degree days. Based on this, expect to use about 5 percent more heating products than average during December.

The snowfall forecast for December is a very difficult one as there are conflicting signals in the data where some of the data shows a pretty snowless December with the possibility of a green Christmas. Other data I looked at shows a pretty average December while other Decembers I looked came out showing a snowy December.

Based on all of the data I looked at, I’m leaning towards a total snowfall amount for December of about 18 inches which is about 5 inches below average. Given the huge discrepancy in the data, it is not out of the realm of possibilities that we could wind up with the extremes of either a snowless month or a very snowy month.

January: One interesting aspect of a mild to very mild late September and early October is that it oftentimes leads to a very cold January and February and the data I looked at supports this.

My thinking is that the bitter cold of late December will break for a week to ten days during early January, however, it is possible that we will be plunged back into some bitter cold temperatures during the second half of January with zero to 10 above zero high temps and 15 to 25 below zero low temperatures. This cold snap may break at the very end of January.

Heating degree days for January are forecast to be around 1750 heating degree days. At this point, I think you should plan on using about 2 to 3 percent more heating products than average, however, it may not be a bad idea to set aside extra money in case it winds up colder than forecast (some data I’ve looked at shows we could be using as much as 10 percent more heating products than average).
The January snowfall forecast is a little more hopeful than December as all of the data indicates we should wind up with at least 20 inches of snow for the month and maybe at least a 12 to 18 inch snow depth during the second half of January.

As of right now, my thinking is for a total snowfall for January of somewhere between 30 and 35 inches. I think we will have at least one large snowstorm around the middle part of January with at least a 12 inch consistent snow depth from January 15th right through the end of January.

February: A mild spell is possible around the beginning of February with above average temperatures possible. Temperatures should return to near average for February by mid-February with the possibility of colder than average temperatures near the end of February.

Heating degree days for February is expected to total around 1500 heating degree days. Based on this, expect to use about 5 percent more heating products than average.

Snowfall for February looks to wind up right around 25 inches for the monthly total. I think at least one large snowstorm seems likely during February as we typically see with any February. From past history, February snowstorms seem to impact the region either between February 1st to 3rd or around February 13 to 16th or at the very end of the month.

March: March should start out colder than average with a few below zero mornings possible. Temperatures are expected to turn around and be near average for March during the middle and last part of the month.

Heating degree days for March are forecast to average around 1275 heating degree days. This means expect to use about the same amount of heating products you would normally use during March.

All of the March’s I looked at in terms of the data I used featured at least one good sized snowstorm of ten inches or more between the 5th and the 14th of the month. As a whole, I’m thinking around 20 inches will accumulate during the month of March with one significant snowstorm between March 5th and March 14th.

April: A generally colder than average April is expected. In fact, some of the data I looked at hints towards near zero nighttime low temperatures even in late April.

Heating degree days for March looks to total up to about 900 heating degree days. So, plan on using about 15 percent more heating products than a normal April.

Snowfall for April looks to average around 10 inches for the month with most of that falling the first 10 days of the month.

The Winter Season As A Whole:
Temperature: Overall temperatures this coming winter will be colder than average and for the heating companies, I am expecting a total of 8650 heating degree days between October 1st and April 30th. This is about 5 percent above average for heating degree days. What this means is plan on consuming 5 percent more heating products than you normally would during a winter. So, for example: If you normally use 700 gallons of heating oil during a normal winter, this coming winter, plan on consuming 735 gallons of heating oil instead.

Snowfall: Total snowfall for the winter of 2013-14 is currently forecast to be near average with somewhere between 105 and 110 inches of snow expected this winter.