NOAA Reveals Winter Outlook for Louisiana – Will it Snow?
Welcome to Louisiana where a conversation about hurricanes can end with a question about the chances of snow around Christmas time. Such is the way of weather along the Bayou. They say if you wait ten minutes it will change but based on the six weeks of 100-degree-plus afternoons this summer I am not sure if I can still support that hypothesis.
But change is what the weather is all about. The atmosphere is in a constant fluid motion and in those wakes and waves in the current of air above us water vapor gets trapped, gets cooled, and falls to the ground as precipitation. What kind of precipitation and how much is what we hope to ascertain in each day's weather forecast, right?
In the Gulf South, we are quite familiar with rain. This year, 2023, we'd really like to be more familiar with it since much of Louisiana is beyond bone dry. Below, you can see the latest drought monitor.
Now there is good news on the way, a low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico is supposed to fire up some showers and storms and maybe even put a small dent in the drought but expectations are not that high.
That's the forecast for the near term, what about further down the road? Let's take a look at what we might be experiencing come Thanksgiving or Christmas. NOAA the government agency that houses the National Weather Service has issued their three-month outlook forecasts for Louisiana and the rest of the nation.
The forecasts are very general in nature but from their graphic representation, you can get a general idea of how the phenomenon of temperature and precipitation will play into your future plans.
Let's look at precipitation first.
You can see Louisiana is in a position that we haven't been in for most of the summer months. During the summer we were in the "way below" normal category for precipitation. That's why we showed you the Drought Monitor earlier.
The extended outlook does suggest that showers and storms will be a bit more plentiful as we move through October, November, and into December. It will give the area a chance to "catch up" on the average rainfall readings. But as we move into winter the bigger question about precipitation shifts from "how much" to "what kind"?
What Are Louisiana's Chances for Snow This Winter?
In the South, snow takes two forms. The first is lovely white flakes that fall from the heavens and turn our car roofs and patio furniture into winter wonderlands for a few hours. Then the snow melts and we are left with a vibe that can only be described as "wet and brown".
The other kind of "snow" we get is when it is actually cold enough to cover the ground and the roadways. That's when we really run into trouble. Fortunately, that kind of snow doesn't happen that often. In fact, in the past 30 years of living in Lafayette, Louisiana, I think we've had "frozen roads" maybe three times.
So what about this year? The short answer is "No".
Alright, we can't say 100% "No" on the snow but when you consider our average December temperature is well above freezing and this forecast is calling for temperatures to be warmer than normal, I think "no snow" is a safe bet.
Now, what we can't show you for another week or so is what the Climate Prediction Center is thinking for January. January is the month wintery precipitation is most likely to occur in Louisiana. Okay, maybe into early February as well but we really only have about four to six weeks of "winter" where ice and snow are concerned.
One other thing to consider, as we mentioned earlier in this article "weather guessing" is a very inexact science. So, if you don't like what these forecasts are showing, wait a few days, it will change. Or, maybe it won't. Regardless, there's nothing you can do about it.
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Gallery Credit: Scott Perrin