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AccuWeather’s 2018-2019 Asia winter forecast

November 2, 2018 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

An active storm track will bring several opportunities for rain and mountain snow to the Middle East, as well as parts of China and Japan during the winter of 2018-2019.

The storm track may have some significant impact on areas farther south.

Storms to gather moisture in Middle East

A corridor of frequent storms is forecast to take shape from Turkey and Syria to northern Pakistan, southern China and southern Japan this winter.

The pattern will produce rounds of rain and mountain snow from the coasts of the Mediterranean and Black seas to the Himalayas.

It is possible that the storms may pack enough punch to cause flash flooding and/or produce locally heavy snowfall in some unusual places.

“There is the possibility that cold air may push far enough south during one or more of these storms to bring snow in the lower elevations of Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Jordan and northern Iraq in January and February,” Lead International Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said.

The pattern may result in lower-than-average temperatures from Turkey to northern Iran.

“As cold air blasts in behind the storms, heavy Black Sea-effect snow may occur in Turkey, especially in the mountains,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Eric Leister.

“Some much-needed rain may reach as far south as Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and parts of Oman, especially later in the season. However, rainfall may still be near to below average for the season as a whole in these areas,” Nicholls said.

India smog to remain a concern

Southern and western Saudi Arabia and Yemen, as well as much of India and southern Pakistan will be generally dry with higher-than-average temperatures.

Some dusty episodes are likely as the storms pass by to the north.

As is often the case, smog and poor air quality will return to the valleys of northern India and part of central Pakistan during the winter.

“Air quality will likely be bad enough at times to be a risk for the people’s health, including in New Delhi,” Nicholls said.

However, there may be some respite from the smog and poor air quality as occasional storms traveling across the Himalayas stir the atmosphere.

“The breaks are not likely to be long-lasting, but there may be more breaks when compared to recent winters,” Nicholls said.

Farther south in Sri Lanka, and perhaps parts of the India states of Tamil Nado and Kerala, a significant amount of rain is likely during December. During January, rain may persist across Sri Lanka, but southern India will trend seasonally dry.

“There is the risk of a tropical depression or cyclonic storm over the southern part of the Bay of Bengal that could affect Sri Lanka and southern India during the first part of the winter,” Nicholls said.

El Niño to join northeast monsoon as a player in East Asia

Farther to the east, an average amount of rain is likely from Myanmar to northern Vietnam and south-central China early in the season before turning drier.

“Much of Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, southern Laos, southern Vietnam, The Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Singapore can expect warmer and drier conditions than average,” Nicholls said.

This warm and dry weather is typical of an El Niño weather pattern.

During an El Niño, warm-than-average ocean water temperatures over the tropical eastern and central Pacific occur. This creates rising air and downpours in that part of the Pacific, but also sinking and mainly dry air father west to Malaysia.

In terms of tropical activity for the balance of the year and into the start of 2019, the best chance for tropical storm and typhoon formation will be near and east of Guam and the Mariana Islands, mainly in December.

“A tropical depression or storm cannot be ruled out to end 2018 in the Philippine and South China seas, but tropical activity this winter will be very limited in these areas,” Nicholls said.

“A tropical storm may impact the Volcano Islands and may even flirt with the eastern coast of Japan, but overall impacts on land in Japan should be limited.”

The same storm track from Turkey will extend across south-central and part of southeastern China to southern Japan with episodes of rain.

The storms will affect the Yellow and Yangtze river valleys on south, but the amount of cold air for snow may be limited.

“Very little or no snow is likely in the Yangtze Valley, but some snow may accumulate over the higher elevations later in the winter,” Nicholls said.

“Other than some wet snowflakes mixing in with the rain later in January and February, no significant snow is forecast in Shanghai.”

Cold air may have trouble reaching southern Japan, including Tokyo.

“It is possible that just enough cold air hooks up with storms late in the winter to bring a little snow to Tokyo, on the order of 5-10 centimeters (2-4 inches). Average snowfall in Tokyo is around 10 centimeters (4 inches).

Farther north, areas from northeast China through the Korean Peninsula, far-east Russia and Hokkaido and northern Honshu, Japan, a few cold shots are likely with the most-intense cold weather forecast to be late in the season.

“We expect the season to end with close to the average snowfall of 2.5-7.5 centimeters (1-3 inches) in Beijing and 10-20 centimeters (4-8 inches) in Seoul,” Nicholls said.

Waves of cold air and sea-effect may help to boost snowfall over northern Japan especially later in the winter.

While parts of Japan have been hit hard by deadly flooding, mudslides and typhoons earlier this year, and winter storms will bring some rain, widespread episodes of flooding are not anticipated to end 2018 or begin 2019.

Early cold, dryness may impact agriculture in Volga Valley

Areas from central Russia and Kazakhstan can expect a typical winter in terms of cold with some snowy episodes. However, west of this zone, the season will start drier and colder than normal.

“The magnitude of early-season cold air, combined with a lack of protective snow cover may leave winter grains susceptible to damage across Ukraine and Russia’s Volga Valley,” Nicholls said.

Cold waves will continue to frequent western Russia and Ukraine through the winter, but opportunities for storms with snow, ice and some rain are likely to increase later in the season.

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