Here's your 2020-21 winter weather outlook for Western New York

La Nina will impact our winter weather in Western New York
Posted at 6:00 AM, Oct 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 07:02:03-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The big weather story this winter will be La Nina.

La Nina is the term used to define the cooling of the surface water temperatures in the eastern and central-eastern equatorial Pacific.

It is the opposite of El Nino and it's expected to strengthen over the next few months.

The Climate Prediction Center has issued a La Nina Advisory, since there is an 85 percent chance that La Nina will continue through the Northern Hemisphere for winter 2020-21.

There is a 60 percent chance that La Nina will continue into the spring of 2021.

High confidence in this La Nina means you'll be hearing a lot about it over the next few months.

According to the National Weather Service in Buffalo, 56 percent of La Nina winter months in Buffalo experience above normal temperatures.

The 2020-21 La Nina is expected to be moderate to strong.

When this occurs, November and February have the best chance for above normal temperatures.

La Nina trends toward a wetter pattern as well.

The jet stream becomes more wavy or, "active" which could lead to more precipitation events for us during the winter months.

La Nina is one of the many factors that will impact our winter weather.

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Arctic Oscillation (AO) will greatly impact the short term (one to two weeks) winter weather.

Our official winter weather outlook calls for slightly above normal temperatures and slightly above normal snowfall.

Continuing with our in-depth look at winter: we will look at the impacts in has on driving in Western New York and how to protect ourselves.

New York State ranks 3rd in deadliest state for winter driving.

State Route 104 has seen the most deaths from winter driving, making it the most dangerous road in the state.

Remember that winter storm in 2014?

It had 3 auto related deaths.

Black ice also tends to be an issue for motorists on the roads.

The best ways to handle black ice are: to keep your hands straight on the steering wheel, do not use the brakes, and to take your foot off the accelerator to let the car slow itself down.

Winter preparedness tips to keep you safe include the following

  • Checking your tire pressure, having adequate tread, and snow tires
  • Making sure to have enough windshield washer fluid (the deicer type is the best), having enough brake fluid, and having enough oil

Having an emergency kit in your car, which includes the following

  • Batteries
  • Blanket
  • Booster cables
  • Candles
  • External phone charger
  • Flash light
  • Hand warmers
  • Matches
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • Shovel (remember to shovel snow in small amounts)
  • Snow brush
  • Tow rope
  • Water

Does weather lore in WNY match up with the science? Click here to find out what the leaves on trees or spiders in your home means for this winter!