SHREWSBURY, Mass. - Depending on how you feel about snow, there's some good news and bad news about Central Massachusetts weather. Shrewsbury weather analyst Jim Arnold said there's little chance of a repeat of last year's late October freak snowstorm (you can cancel your Snowtoberfest plans).
However, don't expect another mild winter this year.
On Oct. 29, 2011, conditions such as heavy, evaporating precipitation, rising air currents, and a drop in temperature were just right to drop 15 inches of snowon Central Massachusetts.
Across the region, trees fell, taking out power lines. In Shrewsbury alone, 2,500 were left without electricity, and in Grafton 90 percent of residents were left in the dark. Many residents couldn't heat their homes, emergency heating shelters opened up and it took nearly a week to restore power throughout the area.
"It was quite an event," Arnold said.
Arnold said the odds of a second October snow storm are slim.
"It would be like having two 100-year storms, one after the other," he said, but noted that there's always going to be a risk of a storm when conditions are right.
Looking ahead, Arnold is predicting a more wintery winter. Last year saw warmer temperatures and little precipitation.
A Pacific warming pattern -- El Nino -- may strengthen the southern branch of the jet stream, bringing moisture from the south to the northeast. Meanwhile, arctic cold fronts coming in from Canada will lower temperatures in the northeast.
So what does that mean?
"Winter will be more like winter," said Arnold. Compared to last winter, there will be considerably more snow and more frequent storms and cold weather outbreaks.
Of course, a prediction is just a prediction, and it's hard to say in October what will happen in January. On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with investing in a new parka.
Or maybe a power generator.