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.
Matthew has become a hurricane in the Caribbean and may approach the U.S. during next week.
Hurricane Matthew will threaten the western and central Caribbean with flooding rain, damaging winds and an inundating storm surge early next week.
It will feel like an extended winter for those living from the northern Plains to the eastern U.S., as cold and snowy conditions last longer than normal.
Persistent downpours will raise the flood risk in part of the mid-Atlantic into Friday night, while rain will spread over the balance of the northeastern United States into the weekend.
Millions of people across the U.S. could be exposed to drinking water contaminated with chemicals from firefighting foam, according to a recent study.
The final day of September will bring a rare lunar event that hasn’t occurred since March of 2014, a Black Moon.
Lander, NY (1982)
15.4 inches of of snow (29th-30th). Total of 32.9 inches for month (Sept. record).
Record dry September: Pittsburgh, PA - Only 0.28" this month; driest September on record (old record 0.57 inches in 1893) Greensboro, NC - Driest month ever (only a trace of rain) Columbia, SC - Only 0.07" of rain.
Central and Western NY (1991)
Record cold morning; Buffalo, had 32 degrees, tying the all-time September low. Syracuse dropped to 28 degrees, breaking the old record of 32 set in 1942. Albany hit 28, erasing the 29-degree mark of 1951. Other lows (not official records) included: 21 degrees at Angelica, 22 at Watertown, 24 at Ithaca and 25 at Elmira.