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AccuWeather.com Europe Winter Forecast for 2010-2011

By By Heather Buchman, Meteorologist
October 29, 2010, 7:29:52 AM EDT

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AccuWeather.com Chief Long-Range Forecaster Joe Bastardi is calling for the core of winter in Europe this year to target the southern portion of the continent, while areas from the United Kingdom into Scandinavia that were hit hard last year catch a break.

The major player in this winter's forecast is the phenomenon called La Niña, when sea surface temperatures across the equatorial central and eastern Pacific are below normal. Last winter was characterized by an El Niño, which is the opposite of La Niña with warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures.

Bastardi highlights that in past years in which there was a transition from an El Niño to a La Niña, such as this year, there tended to be unusual warmth north of latitude 40° north, which includes most of Europe.

This winter, Bastardi is generally going with this idea, though he is expecting the above-normal warmth to be a bit farther north. On average, above-normal temperatures are forecast for areas from the northern U.K. into Scandinavia. Precipitation is generally expected to be below normal in these areas.

While winter enthusiasts across northern Europe may be disappointed with this forecast, many people will probably welcome a break after last year's harsh winter.


Farther south, Bastardi expects near-normal temperatures from southern England into the northern Europe mainland and colder-than-normal conditions from Italy and the Alps into the Balkans, Ukraine and southern Russia.

It is this zone from Italy and the Alps into southern Russia where the core of the nastiest part of winter will reside. Along with colder-than-normal temperatures, above-normal snowfall is anticipated in this region.

Southern Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey, southern Russia, Italy and much of Switzerland are included in this cold, snowy zone.

While not as extreme farther west, people in cities such as Paris, Madrid and Lisbon can expect this winter to be colder than last year's. Slightly below-normal temperatures and near or slightly above-average snowfall are predicted.

Across northern Europe, snowfall and temperatures are expected to average closer to normal in London, while areas toward Glasgow and Dublin experience slightly above-average temperatures and snowfall just a little below normal.

Even warmer and less snowy conditions compared to normal can be expected farther east across northern Europe, including northern Russia, Latvia, Estonia and much of Scandinavia.

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