Reporter: Aubrey Urbanowicz
As the weather continues to get colder many are wondering if we will see a snowy winter.
Here is the outlook from the First Alert Storm Team.
Winter is quickly approaching and every year we look at a number of factors to see what the upcoming winter may hold.
The last several winters have been from one extreme to another.
Refer to the graphic on your right. In the winter of 2009-2010 (also known as the winter of Snowmageddon) snowfall throughout the area topped 50".
As far as last winter we forecast snowfall and temperatures right at average.
That forecast was dead on and we did receive normal snowfall amounts; however, if you'll remember almost 90% of that snow all came in March just before spring.
So let's start first with what is average, or typical for this area.
Based on 30 years, which is how climate averages are calculated, average snowfall for the Valley is about 20 to 25 inches, the graphic to the right is from the National Weather Service in Sterling.
Into the mountains of West Virginia this number increases quite a bit.
Average for the western facing mountains of Highland, Pendleton, and Grant counties can range from 70" to over 100" of snow per winter season.
There is a wide range of average snowfall amounts for the higher elevations.
But this is average, so that's accounting for high snowfall years, as well as the low snowfall winters.
As far as the driving pattern this year like El Nino or La Nina, there isn't either pattern in place.
We call this a neutral phase, or ENSO neutral.
This is the same phase as last winter.
So first, I looked at past ENSO neutral winters in the Valley.
I averaged the snowfall for neutral years going back 50 winters.
That gave an average of 30" of snow during neutral phase years.
Something else we're looking at. is the Eurasian snow cover.
There is a known strong correlation that high amounts of snow cover, especially in October in that part of the globe, leads to a hefty east coast winter.
This October, Eurasian snow cover has increased more than normal.
Now is this full proof? No, but they are some good indicators.
Other factors are the jet stream, and something we've talked about in the past, the Arctic Oscillation, experience and sometime just a gut feeling.
The Arctic Oscillation will bring in cooler temperatures in the negative phase, and mild temperatures in the positive phase.
The forecast for the Arctic Oscillation only goes out about 2 weeks; however sometimes it can stay in the negative/positive phase for a month, or longer.
So this is what the First Alert Storm Team has come up with for the upcoming winter.
We're expecting snowfall slightly above average.
For the Valley, that would be more than about 25" of snow.
We do feel that temperatures are going to be near average, but there is a strong possibility that at the beginning of 2014 we could see temperatures dipping a little below average at that time.
Keep in mind that's also when we tend to see the majority of our snowfall.
January and February are typically the "snowiest" months of the winter.
Now this doesn't specify when we will see snow.
So we could see many small to moderate snow storms, or just a couple of big storms.
If you're a snow lover, this upcoming winter may be one you'll enjoy.
Reporter: Bob Corso
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV)-- In part one of our series, "Gangs in the Valley," we learned gang members are here committing violent crime and dealing drugs.
But how do you know if there are gangs in your neighborhood? What are the signs you should know?
Under Route 33 near Interstate 81, Master Police Officer J.C Aderholtz with the C.H.A.R.G.E Gang Task Force, decoded some tagging, "This is actually a clown, the gang that we have in this area that will use this particular tag or they'll use it in their drawings is Sureños 13. We also have the three dots inside the head of the clown right here, this is very common with our Sureños gangs and other gangs also, but Sureños it's very common with which also means 'my crazy life' or 'my vido loco' in Spanish."
Aderholtz explained that gangs disrespect one another through graffiti, "This is another Sureños 13 or Sur 13 graffiti. Puro is a street name of a local Sur 13 member who was involved in this graffiti. On this side of the pole we have the number five. The number five is used by the East Coast Bloods; they represent with the number five. The Sureños have put two arrows next to this number five showing disrespect to the Bloods."
The Crips and The Latin Kings are other gangs present in the Valley, "Yes this is gang graffiti. This is Latin King graffiti. You have the L and the K which stands for Latin King and you also have the five dots here. Latin Kings will represent with the number five or the five dots," said Aderholtz.
However, not all graffiti is gang-related, "No this is not, any of this gang graffiti. This is what we call tagger graffiti. It's a form of art. People think of this as a form of art."
So how does someone tell the difference between the two types of graffiti?
"It's hard to tell the difference. We're trained to be able to tell the difference so the best thing to do is for people to call the police department or the sheriff's office so an officer can come out and take a look at it. It's good intelligence for us so we can gain information from it," said Aderholtz.
People used to be able to pick out gang members on the street by their clothing or the color of their bandanna, but in recent years, gangs gave taken a lower profile.
"They don't want to draw the attention of law enforcement and instead, that street corner is now online. It's now Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, those are the locations that gang members are displaying their bravado, their machismo," said Cpl. Bryan Horowitz, the coordinator of C.H.A.R.G.E Gang Task Force for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
Gang images are also on different social media sites.
"These are local Sur 13 members, they're throwing up the 13 hand sign.The man in the black is throwing up the one. The man in the white is throwing up the three," said Aderholtz, "These are five local Blood members. They're wearing the color red, and the male in the middle is just throwing up the hand sign V-A."
Tattoos are another way gang members distinguish themselves.
"That's a Sur 13 member. He's got the one and the three on his arms. This is an M-S 13 member. He has the M above the one and the S above the three. This is a Crip tattoo. They represent with the six-pointed star and the number 6. This is a K-C tattoo, which our Kelly Park Crip members will, will wear," said Aderholtz.
Another indicator is drawings.
"This is a Sur 13 drawing. As you can see on the right they also represent with the name Southside 13. These types of drawings are good for teachers and parents to be aware of," said Aderholtz.