Mild today; Winter outlook giving few clear signals so far

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Near 70 in the metro and southern Minnesota this afternoon

Spotty AM showers give way to slowly brighter skies this PM

Windy & colder and wetter tomorrow & Thursday

.58″ NAM model rainfall output at MSP by Friday

60s return this weekend, fairly nice weekend ahead?

70s by next Thursday?

NOAA issues winter outlook Thursday

Murky – cloudy crystal ball on winter outlook this winter?

Weather Tip: This should be a good weekend for leaf raking

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Source: Twin Cities NWS

Mild to wild: Weather roller coaster ahead

Get ready for some major ups & downs this week.

Today will be the mildest day this week. Spotty showers dot the radar today, and will slide east by afternoon. Brighter PM skies should help boost temps to near 70 in the south and west today.

The next cold front will be noticeable tomorrow. It starts with a pretty good chance of showers overnight into Wednesday AM.

The rain may beak for some sun tomorrow PM, then a big swirl of windy colder wetter air will spin south over Minnesota Thursday.

The models insist on a good shot at .50″ of rainfall by Friday AM. It could be just cold enough to mix in a few snowflakes in parts of Minnesota by Thursday, but most of the precip should come down as badly needed rainfall.

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Source: NOAA via ISU

Friday will transition to what looks like a partly sunny milder weekend. Highs should reach the 60s this weekend, and we may even see a stray 70 degree temps in southern Minnesota by Sunday afternoon. This should be a good weekend to get those leaves up.

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Source: NOAA & ISU

Next week look mild at this point….and a shot of Indian Summer like 70s could surge north by next Thursday.

Right now I don’t see any major October snow surprises before Halloween.

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Winter Outlook: Murky crystal ball

Various winter outlooks are trickling in as we approach the end of October and the start of the real window for winter weather November 1st.

NOAA will issue their winter outlook Thursday.

So far I’ve seen forecasts of 44.3″ and 61″ for metro snowfall this winter from various sources. We struggled to plie up 22.3″ last winter, and dug out from 86.4″ the previous year.

I must say, this looks like a difficult winter to forecast at this point.

What looked like a promising El Nino has so far failed to develop. What warm water there is so far in the Pacific is along the Baja & Mexican Coast in an unusual place.

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The major “oscillations” like AO, NAO, PDO, PNA are yielding few clear signals so far.

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Source: NOAA

Last winter the Arctic Oscillation (AO) was strongly positive, and produced the 4th mildest winter on record. It was also a La Nina year, which has a cold bias so go figure.

Snow cover in northwest Canada and Siberia is running near climatology in many areas.

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Source: Rutgers Snow Lab

All things considered, there is no clear, smoking gun that points to a discernible trend in dominant jet stream patterns for the upcoming winter.

My guess is NOAA is likely to stick with the notion of a milder than average winter over much of the USA & Midwest when the outlook is issued Thursday, with a wetter than average signal along the southern USA. This would be typical of an El Nino signal.

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Source: NOAA CPC

We’ll see.

I want to see a few more data points before sticking my neck out with the Weather Lab winter outlook just yet. I’m looking for trends that will hopefully reveal a few things in the next 10 days or so. Look for Weather Lab temperature and snowfall outlooks in late October similar to last year’s timing.

This is going to be an especially tough winter to predict, and no one can tell you they have the full answer key this year…or any year. Let’s see if any stronger signals reveal themselves in the next 10 days.

Where did I stash that Magic Weather 8-Ball anyway?


  • Lars

    Paul, the Energy Information Agency is predicting higher home heating costs because of a colder winter.

    How do the ski-slopes here in MN use winter forecasts?