NOTE: This forecast was published in August 2012 and has since been updated; see our full-length 2012-2013 AccuWeather.com Winter Forecast update for the latest information.
Following a snow drought during winter 2011-2012, the mid-Atlantic and southern New England will get a snow dump this winter.
Above-normal snowfall is forecast for the major I-95 cities, including New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., during winter 2012-2013.
"The I-95 cities could get hit pretty good. It's a matter of getting the cold to phase in with the huge systems that we are going to see coming out of the southern branch of the jet stream this year," AccuWeather.com Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said.
The cold is expected to phase with the big storms during January and February with the potential for large snowstorms to make headlines and create travel headaches in the major cities.
A pedestrian makes his way through Times Square, Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
On the other hand, the ski industry, which despite an early start for some resorts suffered a slow season overall last winter, will benefit from the above-normal snowfall.
Factors Behind the Above-Normal Snow Forecast
The presence of El Niño or La Niña - and their strength - is used to project how active the winter season is going to be. AccuWeather.com Long-Range meteorologists are projecting a weak to moderate El Niño by the fall.
An El Niño pattern is classified by above-normal water temperatures in the central and equatorial Pacific Ocean. Warming the ocean water in turn warms the air above the Pacific, causing weather patterns to change globally.
El Niño winters feature a strong southern branch of the jet stream across the U.S. When the strong southern jet stream phases with the northern branch of the jet stream (see graphic below), big storms can impact the East.
It should be noted that no two El Niños are the same. The strength of this phenomenon can mean a great deal for winter weather.
Furthermore, there are other factors that influence snowfall amounts for the winter. Enough cold air must meet with big East Coast storms for snow to fall in the I-95 corridor.
Blocking is a term that meteorologists in the Northeast use to describe areas of high pressure that dominate eastern Canada or Greenland at times during the winter, forcing cold air to reach to U.S.
"When blocking occurs, storms tend to slow their eastward progression off the East coast. You also get moist flow off the Atlantic to help enhance snowfall rates," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Brian Edwards explained.
The AccuWeather Full-Length Winter Forecast will be released in October.
The risk of flooding from Odile will spill onto Texas and parts of the southern and central Plains late this week into the weekend.
Torrential rainfall slammed parts of Serbia over the weekend, resulting in two deaths as rushing waters sliced through area streets.
Igniting across Northern skies, ghostly rivers of light dance overhead each year, emitting vibrant shades of green, blue, pink, red and violet.
On Tuesday, Edouard became the first major hurricane in the Atlantic since Sandy. While Edouard remains at sea, rough surf will reach some Atlantic coast beaches.
Moisture from Tropical Rainstorm Odile will deliver torrential rainfall and cause life-threatening flooding over the interior Southwest through the balance of the week.
The chilliest air of the season so far will settle over much of the Northeast Thursday into Friday and will bring frost to a large area.
Great Lakes (1990)
27 degrees at Sault Ste. Marie, MI. A record low for so early in the season (old record of 30 set in 1974). Snow flurries across Vermont and parts of New Hampshire. Snow flurries and sleet at Naples, NY.
Philadelphia, PA (1991)
50th day at or above 90 degrees, broke old annual record of 49 days set in 1988.
Denver, CO (2000)
High reaches 95 degrees. This is the 61st day of the year at or above 90 degrees - this broke the old annual record of 60 days in 1994.