Early 2014-15 Winter Forecast: A Region-by-Region Breakdown

Update: Firsthand Weather’s final 2014-15 winter forecast will be released on November 2nd at 2 pm ET on this site.

This is a more simplified version of the preliminary 2014-15 winter forecast that I released on July 20th. In this post, I want to go region-by-region and tell you what I believe this winter entails for those areas. Before I do, please understand that this winter forecast is subject to change, but at this time, I am fairly confident in my current predictions for this upcoming winter. Only time will tell if my predictions verify, and if any changes need to be made, I will do so in my final winter forecast which will be coming out in October.

Two of the points that I made in my preliminary winter forecast was that the strength of the El Nino matters and the placement of the above-average sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Pacific matters. That’s why you can’t come out with one of those “this is your typical weak El Nino winter maps” and call it a winter forecast. It simply won’t work. Also, there are other factors that will be big drivers of this upcoming winter because we will likely only be in a weak to weakly moderate El Nino. The warmer waters in the northern Pacific over the Gulf of Alaska could again be partially responsible for another cold winter in the central and eastern United States, while the West has above-average temperatures.

The warmest waters still remain over the eastern equatorial Pacific, while the central Pacific waters have cooled quite dramatically. I’m not too concerned about this because we’ll likely see those waters across the central Pacific really start to warm back up, while the eastern Pacific will start to see a drop-off in sea surface temperatures in the coming weeks. This is going to have to occur for the El Nino Modoki to kick in, which I have been predicting for some time now. Once those cooler waters start to surface across the eastern Pacific and the waters begin to warm back up across the central Pacific, the atmosphere will likely react in a way that drives further warmer across the central Pacific, due to a larger sea-surface temperature gradient. Many of those who were calling for the unprecedented super El Nino event to develop later this year are now trying to say that nothing could happen at all. They’ll most likely be wrong both times.

If you didn’t see my preliminary 2014-15 winter forecast, be sure to take some time to read it later by clicking here. I go into detail as to why I’m predicting what I’m predicting, but just to warn you, it is quite lengthy! Right now, allow me to break down region-by-region what you can expect for this upcoming 2014-15 winter.

Preliminary 2014-15 Winter Forecast
Firsthand Weather’s Preliminary 2014-15 Winter Forecast

Southeast: The southeastern United States will likely experience well-below average temperatures with many areas across the Southeast getting plenty of snowfall/ice/rain. Last winter, many regions saw above-average snowfall, but that doesn’t always translate to a wetter-than-average winter. This winter across the Southeast will likely be wetter-than-average for most. Because of the cold air that will likely be in place, many regions that typically do not get snow and ice will get it this year. This reminds me of what occurred in 2009-10 when many people living in the Gulf coast states saw snow who hardly ever get it. Unlike last winter, Florida will likely get in on the really cold air this year since a lot of the cold air could be more focused in the eastern U.S. Expect several big storms to move across this region this winter and impact many living in this area.

Mid-Atlantic: The Mid-Atlantic could even see a snowier winter than last winter and likely experience well-below average temperatures. This winter could rival some of the “snowpocalyptic” winters that occurred a few years back, which will likely end up making this a highly discussed topic throughout the winter. This will likely be a wetter-than-average winter for the Mid-Atlantic, and this region will likely feel the effects of low pressure systems bombing off the East Coast. This area will probably be impacted by several storms this season and may even feel the effects of a pre-season storm that may try to develop.

Northeast and Great Lakes: A good portion of the Northeast will likely experience a colder-than-average winter, but it really depends on where you’re located. Places in the northern Northeast like Maine could actually have around average temperatures and snowfall, while regions more to the south and along the coast may feel the effects of heavier snowfall and brutally cold air. The Great Lakes region will be brutally cold; however lake-effect snowfall could be considerably less this year. This was hard for me to include on my winter map, which is why I wanted to mention it here. Waters on the lakes are still very cold from this past winter with chunks of ice that were still being spotted as late as this past July 4th. This will likely have an effect on the lake-effect snow machine this upcoming winter.

Tennessee Valley & Ohio Valley: Most of this region will likely experience brutally cold temperatures with the Ohio Valley and a good portion of the Tennessee Valley having good shots at getting some heavy snowfall this year. The Ohio Valley, in particular, could have another year of average to above-average snowfall and overall, may even be wetter-than-average. The Tennessee Valley, particularly in the eastern regions, will likely have average to above average snowfall also. Sometimes, parts of this area can miss out on the good snowfall, but if this occurs, I only see this happening in the more western areas of the Tennessee Valley.

Southern Plains: The Southern Plains will also likely experience well-below average temperatures with higher-than-average snowfall/ice, and overall, most of this region will be wet, some areas more than others. This is another region that could have areas getting snowfall/ice that typically don’t get it. Several storms will likely track across this region throughout the winter with several places across Texas having a decent chance at getting some good snowfall this year. This region will be in the path of some of the Arctic blasts that will likely dive pretty far south this winter.

Northern Plains: The Northern Plains will likely be in a region that experiences brutally cold air diving south from the Arctic, but some areas will be impacted more than others, particularly eastern sections. Precipitation/snowfall could be around average, maybe even below average once you move more west. This is one of those regions that I’m a little more uncertain about and will have to watch closely as we get closer to winter.

Southwest: The Southwest may actually have a decent shot at getting some good rainfall/snowfall to help put a small dent in the drought this winter. While this region will likely have above-average temperatures overall, I’m feel pretty optimistic for the southern regions across California. The further north you get though, the drier things will get. If we do get a lot of storm systems moving through this region, that may bring the overall temperature averages down somewhat, but for now, I’m still calling for above-average temperatures.

Northwest: This region will likely be dealing with well-above average temperatures and once again, very dry conditions. This area will probably feel the effects of another winter that brings ridging over the region; therefore, warmer and drier conditions.

As I stated, some of this will change as we get closer to this winter, but for now, I think things look really good with the forecast overall. For those of you that do not follow Firsthand Weather on Facebook, you definitely want to like the page by clicking here. I will be putting MANY updates on there regarding this upcoming winter over the next several months.

  • Amelia

    I’m loving this forecast! The winter should be very reminiscent of 2010-11, and as we all know, this past winter was like 2009-10. So, yeah! 2009-10=2013-14 2014-15=2010-11

  • Unsworth

    Living in Michigan I reckon I better prepare for a whopper.

  • George Haynea

    Glad I retired from the schoolhouse in May. Won’t have to worry about losing school time due to weather closures. Looks like we are gonna get some more this next school year.

  • Echo

    well there goes what little budget i have, all shot to hell for the winter.

  • Denise

    Having lived in PA my entire life, you’d think I’d be used to it. No, I hate winter. Now that I have school aged kids, it is worse. They had 11 days off from school thxs to all the snow. And they had ten, 2 hr delays. My kindergartener hardly had school. Guess I have to accept it since we can’t change the weather!

    • Becky

      One of the reasons we Homeschooled. Weather didn’t affect getting schooling done 🙂

  • CrystL

    I was just wondering how your forecast panned out last year.. Thanks

  • Debbie Reeves

    I live in north Ga.. I don’t want to get any more snow and ice than last year. Thank you very much! Lol

    • bob

      i do

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  • Heather

    One big snow & then NO MORE! Kids missed too much school last year!!!!

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  • Judy

    Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! I love it!! I live in Maryland.

    • KC

      Let it snow! Let it snow in Maryland!

  • Joker

    The most reasonable thing to do is close the schools for the winter and go to school in the summer months. No more icy roads. No more 2 hour delays. No more early outs. No more children standing outside in freezing temps waiting for the school bus

    • Roo

      Or home school/unschool?

    • Kacer

      I like it… would kinda suck for the kids… and might suck for parents too, either having to deal w/ kids INSIDE all day, or if both parental units work, having to pick them up at day care… but….I don’t know why we don’t just go to an 11 month school year, w/ a couple of weeks off in winter and a couple of weeks off for inclement weather – whenever that occurs in the area you reside.

  • Bring the cold weather and snow on into Texas! WE need water and it does not matter in what form.

  • I live in eastern Ky ,what region do i live in ?

    • Kevin

      Tennessee Valley & Ohio Valley

    • Rob

      That big state below you, Tennessee, pretty much puts you in the Tennessee valley region. I think before you worry about the weather you may want to figure out where you live, maybe a 5th grade geography class for you. Unbelievable….SMH

      • Smile

        No question is a stupid question. But there are stupid answers

      • Thank u Kevin for answering Peggy Wheelers question as a civil person!

      • Rob read the rest of my post. They include you! You are obnoxious !

      • ezwalker

        The regions described should be more definitive and the map should be labeled. There is no clear distinction between described regions, and I don’t know what you’re reading, but states are not mentioned in the regional descriptions. Where does “southwest” begin and end? Which states encompass the “southern plains”? Peggy has a legitimate point and I sympathize with her concerns.

    • mon

      Peggy, would you please move out of Kentucky? If you do not know what region the Bluegrass is in, you don’t deserve to live here.

      • Smile

        Why so rude? It’s none of your business WHERE she lives.

      • Mon if u live in Ky. I prefer u move and leave Peggy alone! I can tell I’d rather have her here in my great state of Ky. than you any day!

    • Kacer

      Peggy, I get you maybe did not really read the choices… and I get you are in KY, which, I am sorry about. However, when they say Ohio (the state above you) and Tennessee (the state below you…) Isn’t it a BIT obvious? Or did they just neglect geography totally in your HS/ Jr. High? ((And I’m really not trying to be mean… I’m just really curious is all. I’m betting you looked at it, ans since the map is not labeled… you just dd not want to read all the choices – and I get that, I nearly didn’t myself. but then saw “Ohio” and read enough of that to see that’s where I wanted to read. (I’m IN Ohio).

      • Kentucky Proud

        Most Kentuckians are highly educated and those who do not have formal schooling are still very intelligent, they have great commonsense and are people smart. Sounds to me like Peggy was smart enough to choose to stay in Kentucky, which is a great place to live by the way…smart enough not to be “IN Ohio.” I call that brilliant!!!

      • Kacer I have no idea why u are sorry Peggy lives in KY. I have traveled all over but Ky. is where I am from and still live here. And I can tell you it is a beautiful and wonderful place to live and raise your children. We have very gracious and polite people here for most all people. But if one wants to run down our state and bad mouth our people then we will gladly meet you face to face and take a piece of your ass! and another thing we kick ass first ask questions later. No arguing involved. Be polite to us we will be very polite to you, act like an ass ,then get ass kicked. However you want it! After all we here in Ky. are here to please!!!!!!!

        • observer

          geeeee its no wonder why we have such a problem with cyber-bullying, I see where our children get it and this isn’t the way of raising civilized children this is a topic about winter 2014-15.

      • TiredofReligousNuts

        It is a BIT obvious that you are an a$$.

    • stargazer

      The map is color coded by region… which color block does your part of the state fall in?

    • Ann

      I feel bad for you Peggy…why couldn’t they just answer your question without being rude.

    • Jill Eldredge

      You are not stupid for asking this question. I live in western WV and I totally understand your confusion. Some weather people refer to us as the mid Atlantic, some say The Ohio Valley, others say The Appalachian region. Most ignore the area from Cincinnati to DC altogether.

    • wtf

      why so many comments????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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  • helen

    I live in white lake mich what weather look for 2015?

  • Dyanna Lang

    Hoping south MS gets in on the cold weather & snow…love it im not a hot weather person any more heat makes me sick ….

  • Allison

    Thats my land….how did you get this photo?? hahaha

  • Sherry

    Sw. Missouri here. We had a mild 2013-14 winter, and a wet, cool spring that seemed to go on forever.We’d been quite dry the previous couple of years, so all that precip was good for our reservoirs and small-operation cattle ranchers who depend on man-made ponds to sustain their herds. The hay harvest was also better, with at least 2 cuttings.

    It’s August, and only now are temps hitting the mid-90’s and things are getting a little brown and crunchy.

    Having grown up in Michigan (I married a hillbilly from the Ozarks, ya’ll), I am really looking forward to a cold, snowy winter!

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  • Km Koesler

    I’ve been telling my husband for the last month that the “signs” point to a hard winter for N. Central Tx. Seems you agree.

  • Tere

    There’s no reason to be rude here. I have to look at three different areas to cover where I live because of weather patterns. I live in Southwestern VA. Some consider that in the Southeast, some Mid-Atlantic, and some TN Valley. So leave her alone and just make sure you aren’t making a fool of yourself as you criticize Peggy.

  • Wilayne

    Thanks for the forecast. Phoenix area. Wish it would be cooler, but not bad living here.
    Curious about your t-shirt. What are they going to be like. Any women’s scooper/V-neck shirts with shorter sleeves (not as long as the men;s).

  • Louanne

    So what you are saying is, since we live in PA and my husband hauls propane, I should kiss him goodbye in October and welcome him home sometime in May?

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  • stargazer

    I sure hope this pans out. I had read another article saying we would be above normal temps in Arkansas. I love snow and cold weather. Will keep an eye on the developments and my fingers crossed.

  • Gary

    Good article but please don’t end a sentence with “at”. You don’t need to say “It depends where you live at” when just “It depends where you live” suffices. It is poor grammar.

    • Ironrival

      “It depends where you live” is also poor grammar. It’s “It depends on where you live.” Check yourself before you check others.

      • ezwalker

        “It depends ‘upon’ where you live”. JMHO

    • deb

      what she means to say is…..you are not supposed to use a preposition after a phrase.

  • Beth

    I live in SW Missouri and we did NOT have a mild winter. It was WAY below normal and we had a MUCH heavier snow season than usual. It may be mild for Michigan, where you state you are from, but most of the people I know that are native Missourians all say it was a tough winter. We (in our district) had 18 snow days! That is NOT normal for SW Missouri. I have been here for 15 years and that has to be one of the harshest winters we’ve had since I’ve been here.

    Just sayin’.

  • Scott lane

    Think u r doing a great job..thank u

  • Ann

    I feel bad for you Peggy…why couldn’t they just answer your question without being rude.

  • Clara Bicking

    Love the weather – all of it. BUT I’m retired so I don’t really have to deal with it. I enjoy every day as it comes. Keep the forecast coming.

  • There must be something we can do about this!

    • i love it

      love it

  • Let it sneaux

    To have 3- rounds if snow and winter weather is record breaking in coastal Louisiana.
    Looks like we have a trend developing.

  • Laurie

    As usual my map doesn’t include Alaska. We are a state and so is Hawaii.

    • backbonz

      You’re in Alaska. It will be cold.
      For people in Hawaii, it will be warm…

      Thank you

      • tick tac tow 1234

        thank u for clearing that up!!!! 🙂

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  • For all who bad mouthed and made fun of Peggy and Ky. I am proud to be a Kentuckian and proud of Peggy not to be ashed to ask a reasonable question !If one doesn’t know something they ask to find out? Or get a book and study. I’m guessing she didn’t want to take the time to study so she asked andgot several shitheads to answer. There were also a few nice ppl. to answer her politely. Thank you. Now I have traveled a lot and had rather be Iin Ky. Than any place I know. We are more decent and polite than any ppl. I have met anyplace else. But when you start bad mouthing or running us down them we will get in your shit quicker than you know what hit you ! So treat us nice and we will do the same but if you want something more hey we are always ready to oblige. Just tell me when and where. No arguing will take place because we act and may or may not, ask questions later !!!!!

    • Please post previous comments.

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  • Marie

    Am I to understand that Missouri and Illinois are considered the Southern Plains? I was just wondering.

    • kolby

      so was I. That’s a good question

  • Pat Brown


    • “BOB”

      where is “NORTH GREOGIA”?

      • marcia

        Blessings to you and your career

      • pat brown

        do you live under a rock

  • Laura

    Those who slam people who are making an effort to correct other’s grammar, please get a life. Nothing wrong w/good grammar and I really don’t think the accused mind the corrections, its good for all of us. Enjoy the winter weather y’all.

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  • ezwalker

    Hi Matthew, thanks for all of your predictions. Just a minor suggestion…on your map please label the sections according to your descriptions. It would make it a lot easier for us to pinpoint the areas you’re discussing in detail under your map. thank you!

  • Name

    Where can one get this kind of information for Canada? And no, Canada is not cold and snowy all year round.

    • Brycon Slaughter Casey

      Look at your US equivalent and extend it into Canada.

      Common freaking sense.

      • yo face

        shut up

    • guest

      Farmers Almanac

  • redleg71

    So Arkansas is considered the Mid-South. Does that mean we should look at the forecast for the Southeast, Southwest, or Southern Plains?

  • Sheena Koerntgen

    when you say drier winter in the pacific northwest i want to laugh because i’ve lived up here for almost 6 years and its still the same amount of wet as last year and the year before that and the year before that.

    • Brycon Slaughter Casey

      Last year was very dry, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

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  • kolby

    when will Missouri get its first snow in 2014-2015 winter

    • freddy

      tomorrow jk jk lol

  • Laura

    Your weather ptediction for last year was dead on! Good to know we won’t be getting as much snow here in the Great Lakes region, but sucks that I’ll be wearing every piece of clothung I own. LOL Keep up the GREAT work, and THANK YOU!!!

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  • tim bennett

    i’m hoping for a milder winter in north carolina the winter of 2013/14 was brutally cold i hate winter period el nino send the cold air back to canada i don’t want another ice storm march 2014 2 ice storms back to back within 10 days febuary 12th a big snow i don’t like snow sleet freezing rain

  • cool

    just tell us the answer i really love snow i waited a year for it to snow it better snow real hard

  • cool

    i think kids should go to school on snow days and that’s coming from a 10 year old

  • cool

    girl what you talking about its been raining like crazy in 2013 in Alexandria are you out of your mind

  • cool

    hey Judy m you like snow too OK cool how old are you

  • cool

    Debbie i don’t think you know how to use Lol you know that it means laugh out loud right

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  • Lois Ihle Knadler

    Love the detailed forecast.

  • Phone Dude

    I live in Dacula Georgia and I want snow so my daughter will stop asking for it! lol…

  • Daniel Holmstock

    Ouch – hindsight hurts – midatlantic has had a dismal snow fall – in my area we are about 1 inch total as of 2/5/15. Another winter bites the dust around here.

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  • Jodie Purvis

    What about north Mississippi and when can we expect the cooler temps/