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Chris’ Weather Corner: Where’s Winter?

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By Chris Gilberti | November 15, 2021

Have you been recently thinking that fall seems to be hanging on a bit longer than normal this year?

Well, it has – literally. For Albany and the greater Capital Region, we have been running as much as 10 to 14 days behind schedule in terms of reaching peak fall foliage. It took until just after the start of Nov. to reach peak foliage in Albany County and the surrounding areas, while usually that can be expected to occur in mid-Oct. As a result of this delay, we can expect leaves to stick on the trees for the next few days, or possibly even a week or two, barring any major windstorms or freezing temperatures. While plenty of factors go into leaves changing color, such as fewer daylight hours, the biggest cause of the delay this year has been the well above average temperatures this fall season, particularly at night.

Through Sept. and Oct., night-time low temperatures have been closer to where the high temperature should be, anywhere from 10 to even 20 degrees above average on some days, really prohibiting the fall colors. It is just recently--since the start of Nov.--that temperatures have cooled down just enough to bring the leaves to peak color, although they are still not quite even, with some trees almost bare and others still mostly green.

So, this leaves us with another question: When exactly will winter arrive for us here in Albany? The answer, as expected with a question like that, is, of course, quite complicated. With temperatures in the first half of November still above average, by about five to 10 degrees, the first signs of winter seem to be behind schedule. There are more factors to consider, such as jet stream patterns and the polar vortex, which can change weather patterns quickly and drastically, as well as the strength of the La Niña (cooler than average water temperatures) in the Eastern Pacific, which can influence the types of weather patterns over-land on a larger scale. Predicting these scenarios weeks in advance can prove very difficult for forecasters.

There is, however, some good news for winter and snow lovers on the horizon, or perhaps even closer. A storm moving through the area early in the day on Monday may prove cold enough to drop the first measurable snow of the season for higher elevations in the Catskills and Adirondacks, and possibly even some flurries or a dusting of snow in the Albany area.

Beyond Monday, it seems as though we finally get out of the pattern of unseasonably warm weather experienced throughout much of the fall and will see weather that is closer to average, reaching the low to mid 40’s most days. If this new, cooler pattern sticks around through the beginning of meteorological winter in December, it is possible we will see the chance for snow increase before the end of the semester.

And, by then, the leaves will surely be off the trees.


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