National Weather Service Serves Up Their Winter 2016-2017 Forecast
Despite some local TV meteorologists taking shots at the Old Farmer's Almanac's forecast for this winter, it looks like the National Weather Services is agreeing with the prognosis of a cold and snowy winter. The scientific data from the Climate Prediction Center is calling for a chance of a cooler and snowier than normal winter for Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Coming out of an El Nino winter last year with warmer and drier conditions, this winter is projected to be a weak La Nina winter, with a flow of colder air coming in from the north for our part of the world (and much of the country). While long range forecasts (beyond a handful of days) have a greater chance for inaccuracies, data is pointing in the direction of cooler and snowier than average for the Duluth/Superior area.
Looking at similar La Nina years in the past, 9 of the past 11 on record showed colder than normal temperatures. Over that span, the average winter temperature for Duluth comes in at 13.1 degrees. This year's winter outlook is showing a 33% chance of cooler temperatures for the Twin Ports region (which is a notable chance), with a stronger chance in Northwestern Minnesota and into North Dakota.
Most of the Upper Midwest has decent odds of colder than average temperatures, while the southern part of the country could see a warmer than normal winter. It is worth pointing out that this year isn't expected to be a particularly strong La Nina, which means that the effects may not be as harsh as in some of the previous cycles.
On the snow front, Northern Minnesota and almost all of Wisconsin has a notable 33% chance of higher than normal snowfall totals, with the UP and much of the Eastern Great Lakes Region having a greater chance of heavier snowfall totals. Unlike temperatures over the past La Nina events, snowfall is a little less predictable. Only 7 of the 11 previous La Nina events had above average snowfall, with the other 4 being below average.
Many of the Northern border states have increased odds of higher snowfall totals, while the far south is projected to see a drier winter. It is worth pointing out that this year isn't expected to be a particularly strong La Nina, which means that the effects may not be as harsh as in some of the previous cycles.
Of course we won't know for sure what this winter will bring until it is here, but things are looking to be chilly and snowy. Hopefully you're ready for a true Northland winter, because things are looking like a decent one might be on the way.