Winter snow storms are never fun.
Drivers struggle to gain control over their vehicles on the icy roads and car accidents rise. Rapid flurries of ice and snow in the wind can make it impossible to see where you’re driving.
Schools, restaurants, and even grocery stores have to shut down. Heating and energy bills skyrocket. The power might go out and force people to wear heavy winter clothing even within their homes just to stay warm. The snow piles up outside and makes it difficult to even open a door to get outside.
Could America be headed for another major snowstorm, or series of snowstorms, this winter at the end of 2023 and into the beginning of 2024?
While we can’t definitively predict the future, there are several clues that the answer might be yes.
What We Saw in October
The United States already experienced a relatively early season winter snowstorm in the Midwest in late October. The storm brought with it a significant accumulation of snow, sometimes getting up to eighteen inches in certain areas.
This was the most significant snowfall that we saw hit the United States in the fall of 2023, and it made many people wonder if it would be a sign of further snowfall to hit other regions of the country as well.
The storm was indeed followed up by a surge of cold air that spread throughout the Northwestern region of the United States, affecting residents in states like Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah.
So what’s expected to happen next?
What’s Winter Shaping Up To Be This Year?
According to the forecasters at AccuWeather, this upcoming February the United States could be up for one of its biggest winter storms in many years.
While February is usually a very active month when it comes to snowfall anyway, one of the tell-tale signs that this year may be more aggressive than normal is because of a warming El Nino this year.
The El Nino refers to the warming of the Pacific Ocean’s sea surface temperature. The El Nino is the opposite of the La Nina, or when the Pacific ocean’s sea surface temperature cools down. The Pacific transitioned from a state of cooling, or La Nina, to a state of El Nino this past June.
In general, El Nino conditions will lead to snowier conditions and colder temperatures in North America during the winter.
The last three winters were La Nina years in the Pacific.
The fact that we have transitioned to an El Nino warming pattern this year is one of the reasons why many weather forecasters are predicting that temperatures in the United States will be higher than the historical averages.
This is believed to be especially true in the southern and southeastern United States. The skiing season in the Appalachians, for instance, is expected to be longer this year than in years previously.
This year’s El Nino came in strong over the summer. While El Nino is a perfectly normal climate phenomenon, when the water temperatures rise near the equator of the Pacific Ocean, it reshapes weather patterns throughout the world.
When a strong El Nino is occurring during the winter months, as is happening now,, it often ushers in stronger than average storms and more snow or rain, depending on the location.
Getting Ready for a Winter Snow Storm
Since we can’t predict what exactly will happen weather-wise in the future with a 100% degree of accuracy, the most important thing you can do is to get prepared.
Don’t wait for a snow storm to hit before you start taking precautions. Instead, start getting ready.
Windows and doors can be drafty, allowing cold air in and warm air out. That’s why it’s a good idea to seal any windows with an insulation kit that you can pick up at any hardware store.
You can also pick up weather stripping at the store to better seal your front door.
Pick up insulated blinds to help keep the warm air inside the house.
Have Plenty of Warm Clothing and Blankets
This may sound obvious, but if the power goes out in the middle of a winter snow storm it’s going to get very cold inside of your house. Maybe not quite as cold as outside, but it’s still going to be very noticeable. That’s why you should make sure you have plenty of warm clothes and wool blankets inside of your home to stay warm.
Seal the Doors and Windows
A significant amount of heat in your home can be lost through the windows. That’s why you should invest in weather strips so you can seal off the edges of your windows and keep the air trapped inside. You can also press tape to the edges of your doors leading outside to keep the warmer air trapped inside as well.
Get A Power Generator
A power generator is something you should invest in if you live anywhere where power outages are frequent. Set aside plenty of gasoline as well.
While you may not necessarily want to keep the generator running non-stop, you do want to run it for an extended period of time for tasks such as cooking or doing the laundry.
Set Aside a Two Week’s Supply of Bottled Water
Make sure you have bottled water set aside just in case the pipes end up freezing. A good rule to follow is to have one gallon of water per person per day. For a family of four, you’d need to set aside roughly fifty-six gallons of water per person.
Set Aside a Two Week’s Supply of Food
Make sure you have at least a two week’s supply of non-perishable food that does not require freezing or refrigeration in your home. If the power goes out, make sure you eat as much of the food in your fridge or your freezer first before it goes bad.
In short, it’s possible that a major winter snowstorm or series of storms could impact the United States this year.
The best move you can make is to be prepared and to take action now if you haven’t already. Even if an upcoming winter storm takes you by surprise, being prepared like we discussed above will ensure you’re ready.
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