By Kate Bilo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Whether you love it or hate it when winter rolls around it seems to be the one thing many of you look for when you see the 7 day forecast. So how much snow will fall in the Philadelphia area this winter?

We crunched the numbers, analyzed the atmospheric and oceanic trends and studied previous similar winters to create our 2017-18 winter forecast.

We also got a little extra help from Mr. McCall’s 7th grade science class at Cherry Hill’s Carusi Middle School.

The first question: why do you like snowstorms?

“Because we get to miss school and get to build snowmen, sledding, snowball fights, it’s all fun,” said one student.

“Because I get to miss school and go sledding,” another student said.

But as they learned, there’s much more to a winter forecast than just talking about snow.

It starts with the water temperatures off the coast of South America and this year it’s a La Nina!

We look at La Nina and we go back and look at other years that had the same patterns and you look at what happened in those winters. You can kind of draw some conclusions–well if it happened in those years it will happen this year.

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This year looks to be a weak La Nina which means the ocean water off the coast of South America is cooler than average and this will have an effect on the jet stream, a fast-moving ribbon of air, that separates cold air to the north and warm air to the south .

Kate’s Winter Forecast Breakdown:

• Temperatures will be a little bit above average.

• January will be the coldest month.

•Snowfall in Philadelphia will be average or a little bit below, but our far northwest areas may see slightly above average.

• Southern zones see more rain and mix events to lower snowfall amounts there.

How much snow?

• 17 to 23 inches in Philadelphia

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The average snowfall amount in Philadelphia is 22.4 inches and February is typically the snowiest month.

Now, it’s all about timing: when the cold air comes and when it collides with a storm. So all it would take is one major nor’easter to throw off that average.


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