Various commercial and amateur weather outlets present long-term winter forecasts at this time of the year and we have been looking at many of them. In the world of preparedness, the more time you have before a possible event will affect you, the more time you have to be better prepared. These forecasts are not set in stone and there will be regular revisions up until the time the storm hits us. Nonetheless, there is a core element affecting the weather this winter and that is El Niño. Looking at the past history and viewing the different forecasts, El Niño years often bring Nor’easters and depending on the path the Nor’easter takes can bring blizzards to the Northeast. El Niño years don’t necessarily mean more total snow for us but it seems there are higher chances for one or more severe storms. Considering that in El Niño year of 1979, we had close to 2 feet of snow in one storm, in February 2010 just as the 2009 El Niño was winding down we had an ice storm that knocked out electricity for close to a week and in February 2016, during an El Niño, we had winter storm Jonas it would be prudent to believe that the chances for us to experience severe weather this winter are higher than normal. What to do? First, you can look back to the beginning of the month when we all lost electricity – What did you learn from that event? Do you have an alternative source of electricity? Whether it be a generator, solar solution, or portable power station (battery solution) you should have something to at least get you through a short power outage. Next, are you prepared, do you have the proper outerwear to use during snow storms, cold weather, and coastal flooding? this is followed closely by your vehicle and home, are they ready for the winter? Anti-freeze, tires, storm windows, etc. In most cases, one already has what is needed to survive a severe winter storm – it’s more about where you put them (clothes, boots, etc.) the last time you used them or did you discard them as you didn’t think you would need them as we live at the shore. Take the time to review the Winter weather preparedness tips that are available on this website, by clicking on the “Be Prepared” link at the top of the page, and as you do you will learn what you may need to do or get. Who knows thinking about winter storms during the hot temperatures we are currently experiencing may make you feel cooler. It’s not too early to be prepared for winter.