Fall/Winter Preview

El Niño is on its way to the tropics this winter, which could have a ripple effect on our local forecast.

Shifting winds that warm the Pacific to a temperature higher than usual are what cause this phenomenon, occurring every two to seven years.

And this year’s El Niño is gearing up to be one of the strongest on record, which could have a big influence on our winter in the Midwest.

National Weather Service Meteorologist, Kevin Birk, says, “typically during strong el Niño events, which is what we’re expecting this coming winter, they have been fairly warm, warmer than average at least, over our neck of the woods here in the northern United States and also dryer, which would technically mean less snow fall. So if those same things play out this year, we could be looking at a warmer than average winter with, we could say, less than average snowfall.”

The 2016 Farmer’s Almanac also forecasts less snow, but anticipates lower than normal temperatures.

Who’s right is anyone’s guess. The National Weather Service bases its forecast on the Climate Prediction Center while the Farmer’s Almanac studies solar science, climatology and meteorology.

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