‘Weather’ you like it or not, John Bolaris is back

Don’t expect to leave your snow shovel in the garage like you did during last winter. Bolaris is predicting between 20 and 25 inches of snow this season.
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Hello Metro world, it’s John Bolaris. I’ve been through … some difficulties … of late and was even thrown out of your living rooms, but I’m back. Weather is my passion and I love Philadelphia. I’ve been forecasting here since 1990, with a brief five years in New York. Life’s challenges can hit us when we least expect them to. In an instant, a misjudgment can change our lives forever.

Personally, I believe we need to draw from these experiences and move forward armed with knowledge and inner strength. As quoted by the Reverend Jesse Jackson at Joe Frazier’s funeral, “Everyone in life gets knocked to the canvas. It’s the ones that get back up that are the true champions.” William Shakespeare said in King Lear, “Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrific thunder, such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never remember to have heard man’s nature cannot carry the affection nor the fear.” So should we fear the long-range forecast? The winter forecast is always a tough call. However, this winter season is as difficult as they come. We’re missing our star player El Niño, which is a measure of the sea surface temperature of the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean (warming known as El Niño, cooling known as La Niña). This season, we’ve got literally nada: stuck in a neutral position called “La Nada.” A strong El Niño or La Niña is a major weather mechanism driving force for our winter.  Since both conditions are missing for now, the atmosphere is up for grabs. But without your driving force, it turns into a season of uncertainty.

The other key weather maker I refer to often is “NAO,” which is the North Atlantic Oscillation. This either supplies the East Coast with cold and snow or keeps us milder and storm-free. Here’s what you need to know: If the NAO is in a negative phase, then be scared, as the negative phase is the one that brings us those full-blown nor’easters, or at least a much better potential.  If NAO is positive, there’s a much lower chance of snow. The major problem with the NAO is the inability to forecast what phase it’s going to be in beyond two or three weeks. This can blow up anyone’s winter forecast in a heartbeat.

Last year’s walk in the park won’t happen this year. It’s going to be a typical Philly winter. Big coastal storms will make a mark with a 75 percent chance of getting at least one snowstorm of six inches of snow or more. Temperatures should be the coldest during the first half of the winter season, with moderating temperatures by mid-February. As for snow totals, I’m forecasting between 20 and 25 inches of snow. Be warned: We are in a extreme weather phase, perhaps related to global warming. The possibility of megastorms have been ongoing since the early 1990s: the kind of storms that will continue to reshape our coastlines and, on rare occasions, leave an entire winter’s worth of snow in 24 hours.

Readers, talk to me

I’m sure to bump into you around town on the streets, in the stadiums, at your local pub or even back in your living rooms.

I’ve long sought to help people and this space in Metro, once a week, will allow me to keep doing that. I’m going to continue to give you a look ahead — because that’s what I did every night five days a week for years and you can still catch me on the Preston and Steve Show, but this column is also going to be fun and helpful. 

I hope to get your feedback. I hope to get your questions. Till next Monday!

– John Bolaris, one of Philly’s best-known news personalities, will appear every Monday. He’ll give advice on life, weather and any topic in between. So let’s start the dialogue. Email John at


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