Accuweather Forecasts Cooler, Drier Than Average Winter 2012-13 For Ireland And UK has released its European Winter 2012-13 weather forecast. AccuWeather. established in 1962, provides local forecasts for everywhere in the United States and over two million locations worldwide. Its headquarters in State College, PA, USA, is home to the greatest number of forecast meteorologists in one location anywhere in the world.

The Forecast
It looks like we are going to be seeing some different patterns than we saw last year. If you recall from last year, most of the winter fell under a strongly positive NAO. We are looking at a very different feel for the winter of 2012-2013. We saw, even with the cold pattern for the end of January and into February, some above-normal temperatures for almost all of the U.K., into France and even into central Europe. This winter looks to be opposite of that as the jet stream will be pushing off to the south over western Europe and pushing northward for eastern Europe. Also, remember how cold last year was over southeastern Europe, and since then we have seen the temperatures averaging well above normal. We are at least looking for normal temperatures there, and I wouldn't be shocked to see above normal just with the lack of cooler air at night over the area. However, for temperatures over the rest of Europe, we look to see some below-normal weather even into central Germany and western Italy. Then, look for some above-normal temperatures over Scandinavia with both warmer water in the area and also some strong high pressure over the region. Also, look for that above-normal weather to try to push into eastern Europe, but it looks more like that will be over northern parts of the Mid-East. Below is an image with the winter temperatures.

For the winter precipitation, we are looking at some above-normal rainfall for southern Spain and Portugal, pushing into italy and right into southeastern Europe. This is with the strong jet stream dipping southward over the area and bringing some heavy rainfall and even some mountain snowfall over Italy, Greece and into the rest of the area, but nothing like the snow that was seen last year. Most of central Europe will get near-normal precipitation, but that does cover up the fact of being so cold over the Alps, we could see a much higher percentage of that being snowfall. So, anywhere in the Alps could likely see over 130 percent of normal snowfall, which can mean a higher risk for avalanches and flooding when the warmth of spring and summer come in. But, even farther north into most of Scandinavia and into northern U.K. and Ireland, look for below-average rainfall and snowfall. So anyone looking for some less active weather, it might just be cold for you. As for the snowfall, Jason Nicholls, our expert at international forecasting, brought up a great point that we may see some snow even down to the French Riviera, which saw some last year in the cold shot, but could get some this year as storms will track over the warmer-than-normal waters of the Mediterranean Sea and develop into much stronger low pressure systems. So, the cold air over western Europe will only help to act on these storms. Below are both the precipitation forecast and the snowfall forecast maps.

Details and Things to Watch

One of the bigger items I think we will have to watch for is the threat of some heavy snowfall over some of the lower elevations in France, Italy and into northern Spain. Yes, the Pyrenees and the Alps will surely get heavy snow, but those areas are used to it. A few inches of snow falling over southern France, not so much. Another big ticket item is the cold over western Europe. That will likely lock in for much of the winter, but between now and the beginning of winter, there may be a slight push for some warmer weather before we get into the deep freeze for winter. Another story I think may be huge is the correlation with some of the weak El Nino or neutral years Paul Pastelok has narrowed in on. Many of these years tend to have some strong wind events that bring, unfortunately, severe winds and even some major damage to Europe. I think this could be the case this year. 2007 had a storm which caused almost 5 billion Euros of damages; another storm in 1993 caused major damage also. Some of the wind reports during these storms were close to category 3 winds, so winds of over 145 knots, will cause major damage. Look for this to happen over Ireland, the U.K. and northern France and Germany into the Netherlands. Another thing is the lack of rainfall we have seen from spring through now over southeastern Europe looks to end, and we will see some wetter weather push into the region. Watch for the storms that do push in to bring some very heavy rainfall over Italy and southeastern Europe. This is from both the storm track being over the Mediterranean and also the temperatures of the water being much warmer than normal.