Not much of a dent in the drought; NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center releases winter outlook

When I started my career with NOAA more than forty years ago any forecast beyond 48 hours was considered an outlook. The National Weather Service gradually extended its predictions to the current seven day forecast, with weekly and monthly outlooks, as well as seasonal outlooks. I haven’t had much success myself in making predictions beyond five days.

When it comes to the drought, the trend of dry weather in our neck of the woods is no longer our friend. Recently, the GFS model has teased east central Minnesota with the potential for upwards of an inch of rain. See Paul’s previous posts.

So far this October the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has tallied less than a tenth of an inch of precipitation. Perhaps we can accumulate a tenth of an inch of rain on the back side of this strong weather system on Friday.

Winds have gusted to near 75 mph at Pierre, South Dakota today. If this storm occurred later in November it could have delivered quite a wicked wintry punch. As it was, blowing dust reduced visibilities to below two miles in parts of Nebraska. Winds hammered the region from the Dakotas to Kansas.


NAM at 4am CDT Friday. Source: NOAA/College of Dupage

Note how the NAM forecast sweeps precipitation west and north of the Twin Cities overnight. The strong low pressure begins to fill/weaken as it spins east in the next 24 hours.


The latest drought monitor map paints the desperate need for moisture. A quarter inch of rain in west central and southwest Minnesota overnight and into Friday will likely be evaporated back to the atmosphere Saturday.

This forecast of the five day rainfall total potential into early next week shows precipitation minimums over the Twin Cities Metro area.




Source: NOAA Climate Prediction Center

Until NOAA scientists see a trend that will redirect the jet stream, the forecast of persistent below normal precipitation will continue into the winter season.


Source:NOAA Climate Prediction Center

Here is a candid comment from the discussion out of the Climate Center when delivering today’s winter outlook. “This is one of the most challenging outlooks we’ve produced in recent years because El Niño decided not to show up as expected,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “In fact, it stalled out last month, leaving neutral conditions in place in the tropical Pacific.”

Meteorological winter includes the months of December, January and February. An updated outlook will be issued in mid November. NOAA often takes a final shot at the outlook on November 30th.

Enjoy what looks to be shaping up as a rather nice autumn weekend. Mianly dry skies and early autumn-like temperatures. Good weather for outdoor cleanup.


Maximum temperature for Saturday. Source:NWS/NOAA

Looks to be a nice day for the Gopher game at Madison on Saturday.

-Craig Edwards

  • Craig

    Good news to report;over an inch of rain in a large part of the Red River Valley of the north in the past 24 hours. And still rainging. Bad news; winds gusting to 45 mph. Could have been quite a winter storm!