Prepare for a weird and warm winter, as La Niña rolls back in to complicate this year’s weather forecast.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that this winter, we should expect wetter-than-average conditions across the northern U.S. and drier-than-normal across the south. That outlook definitely puts the St. Louis region in the north, with a large mass of the wettest weather swooping down from the Great Lakes to encompass us.
And “wet” often means “snow,” at least here in the Midwest, forecasters say.
Temperatures are likely to be warmer than usual to the south of us, and cooler than usual north of us. Overall, NOAA predicts warmer than weather, which deputy director Mike Halpert said “would be quite surprising.”
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But even if it isn’t as bitterly cold as some winters in the past, don’t expect that keeps us safe from big snowstorms. While the last two winters featured higher temperatures over much of the nation, NOAA said, significant snowstorms still hit different areas of the country.
La Niña is essentially a cluster of colder-than-usual water in the Pacific Ocean, which has extensive effects on North American weather. In general, La Niña means colder and wetter winters for the Midwest.
And what does the Old Farmer’s Almanac say? Slightly above-normal precipitation and below-normal snowfall, mostly matching what NOAA predicts. The snowiest periods will be in mid-December, early February and mid-March, it predicts.
But NOAA won’t say how much snow we might get. “Snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advance because they depend upon the strength and track of winter storms,” their statement read.
As for this week, expect the freeze to hit for the first time tonight, with patchy frost after 5 a.m. and a low of about 36 degrees. Tomorrow will be warmer with a high of 62 degrees, and the rest of the week will stay cool, warmer on Thursday and cold next weekend with highs in the low 50s and lows below freezing.