Snowfall in Siberia during October has proved to be a remarkably accurate indication of how cold winters in the US will be, according to meteorologist Judah Cohen—and it looks like this winter could be a doozy. Siberia experienced record snowfall and its worst blizzard in 10 years this October, meaning the "Arctic Oscillation" pattern could once again cause the polar vortex to put the US' Northeast in a deep freeze, reports USA Today. But Cohen, an Atmospheric and Environmental Research scientist who describes himself as a "weather weenie," says the very strong El Nino pattern has made this year more complicated than most and for now, he predicts mild weather in the short term.
"The snow cover is the most efficient reflector of sunlight out into space, so more snow cover creates dense air masses that stay close to the ground," Cohen told the Boston Globe earlier this year while explaining why such an immense amount of snow had fallen on the city, and how Siberian snow predicted it. University of Albany polar vortex expert Andrea Lang tells the Albany Times Union that while mild weather may lie ahead until around Christmas this year, the vortex is currently stronger than usual, which raises the risk of it becoming weaker than usual later in the season, sending fiercely cold weather south. (The Old Farmer's Almanac says the coming winter will be incredibly cold, while the NOAA believes it could be balmier than usual in a lot of places.)