**From late October: How Fox 8 meteorologists come up with the 2022-2023 Winter Weather Outlook.**
CLEVELAND (WJW) — Winter has come to Northeast Ohio. But so far, save for the major storm over the holidays, the weather has remained relatively mild.
And while some of us would like to keep summer going all year long, there are major reasons for snow and ice and cold to come our way.
FOX 8 meteorologist Mackenzie Bart reminds us that freezing temperatures contribute to a healthy ecosystem.
“Taking away winter from our four seasons, our year would be constantly warm, which would cause problems for animals and plant species,” Bart says, breaking down what and who is affected by a warmer winter.
One word: Bugs. If winter warms too quickly, an influx of bugs can bring harm to the environment. Mosquitos, for instance, stay dormant during the cold winter. On top of this, many animals wisely use the cold months to hibernate and conserve energy.
Colder air is positive for certain types of plants. Without winter growth, cycles can be off.
Mild weather, and low snowpack (or low snow-making ability) greatly affect communities that rely on the winter months for tourism. That includes skiing, ice fishing and other outdoor activities.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center points out that snow helps in insulating the planet from getting too hot, reflecting back the sun’s heat up into space.
“Without snow cover, the ground absorbs about four to six times more of the sun’s energy. The presence or absence of snow controls patterns of heating and cooling over Earth’s land surface more than any other single land surface feature,” NSIDC said on its website.
To be clear, there’s been a wild fluctuation between highs and lows in snow levels in our area over the last century. For instance, the most snow Cleveland ever got (at least on record) was about 117 inches in the 2004-2005 season, but the least was 8.8 inches in the 1918-1919 season. But the average snowfall for Cleveland is about 64 inches a season.
Despite the warm days (temps in the 40s and 50s) this week, the FOX 8 meteorology department reports that some snow is headed our way this weekend and expects colder days overall through the end of January.
The first day of spring is March 20. Find the most up-to-date forecast right here.