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Snow? Mild Temps? Weighing Early Predictions For Winter

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some snow is expected in Northern Minnesota on Thursday, though a lot of us hope winter is still a couple months away.

Two years ago we had a cold, snowy winter.

Last year was the exact opposite with mild temperatures and not a lot of snow.

“My prediction is it’s going to be warmer. If we can use the summer and fall as a gauge, I think it’s going to be warmer,” said walker Ann Swanson.

It was predicted that the 2010-2011 winter would be average. We ended up with the fourth snowiest winter on record.

It was then predicted that the 2011-2012 winter would be above average. We ended up with one of the top-10 least snowiest winters ever.

WCCO Chief Meteorologist Chris Shaffer says the weather is hard to predict three days from now, much less three months from now.

“The long-range outlook has us temperature-wise, above average,” Shaffer said.

He said we are entering an El Nino phase, when warm air swoops in and cold air is pushed south. So as a gauge for temperature and snowfall, he looked at the previous three El Nino winters.

“If you look at the snowfall for the last three, all below average. One by about 20 inches, and another one by about 15,” Shaffer said.

That means we could see a repeat of last year. But even Shaffer says trying to predict winter weather is like trying to predict who will win the Superbowl.

You won’t know until it happens.

“If you put me on the spot and asked me what it’s going to be like looking back historically, I would say it’s probably going to be a little milder than average and we will get less than average snowfall,” Shaffer said.

He said last winter was more typical of what we’ve had over the past 10 to 15 years.

We had such a spike from the winter before, that it made a lot of people think that a cold, snowy winter would be the new trend.

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