Winter Outlook: Big swings in temperatures, precipitation

Winter is just around the corner, and this one is expected to be a milder but wet season for the region.

“Without either El Niño or La Niña conditions, short-term climate patterns like the Arctic Oscillation will drive winter weather and could result in large swings in temperature and precipitation,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.

Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs said she agrees.

“Every year we talk about the Arctic Oscillation and how it plays a role in our winter patterns. This year it will have a bigger influence on our day-to-day forecasts.”

The Arctic Oscillation is a climate pattern characterized by winds circulating counterclockwise around the Arctic. At times during the winter these winds will weaken and strengthen. During periods of weaker winds colder air has an easier chance of spilling south.

>> Live Doppler 7 Interactive Radar 

“During negative periods of the Arctic Oscillation, temperatures can quickly swing from bitter to mild in just a few days. When the timing is right, big snows are possible if cold air meets up with the moisture,” Vrydaghs said.

These dramatic shifts in temperatures also could lead to more mixed precipitation storms filled with rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow, Vrydaghs said.

>> County-by-County Weather

Stay tuned for updated winter weather forecasts from the Storm Center 7 team on WHIO-TV and at

About the Author