NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has been busy lately reading the seasonal outlook tea leaves. This winter, they may come up cold and white for Minnesota.
NOAA’s CPC released the official winter outlook today. The big player this year? La Nina. The cooling ocean temps in the tropical Pacific Ocean statistically favor colder than average winter conditions in the Upper Midwest. It’s not a slam dunk, but the dice are loaded for colder than average winters (about 70% of the time) during La Nina years.
Ocean temps cooling in the tropical Pacific.
The outlook does divide Minnesota into two areas this year. The CPC favors northern Minnesota for above average snowfall and colder than average temperatures. The outlook for the southern half of Minnesota calls for equal chances of above/ near and below average conditions this winter.
The Twin Cities received just 40.7″ of snowfall last winter. Average snowfall for the metro is 55.9″ for the winter season. My boss at MPR Steve Nelson put me on the spot today asking me how much snow I thought we would get this winter. I told him I though we would get more snow than last year, and probably end up somewhere closer to our average snowfall of 55.9″ Let’s hope I’m not scraping too much egg off my face next spring!