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North Dakota winter outlook typical, but La Nina watch remains

By Staff | Oct 27, 2017

Submitted photo While most of the country is expected to enjoy warmer than average temperatures for the period of November through January, early indicators have weather forecasters calling for more "typical" winter temperatures for North Dakota.

Not too warm. Not too cold. Not too much snow. Maybe.

That’s the initial winter weather outlook for the Rugby region as issued by the Climate Prediction Center. A La Nina watch remains in effect, a factor that has forecasters using terms like “variable” to describe the winter ahead. Long-range weather forecasting is not an exact science but, overall, usually provides a pretty good indicator of what might occur in the weeks and months ahead.

“We are expected to be in a La Nina pattern. There’s a good chance of it happening,” said Ken Simosko, National Weather Service meteorologist in Bismarck. “What that typically means for us is favoring colder than normal temperatures and precipitation slightly above average.”

The latest three-month weather outlook by the CPC calls for an “equal” chance of average temperatures for North Dakota through January. There is an elevated chance of precipitation for extreme western North Dakota through the same period. The remainder of the state is expected to see “normal” snowfall.

“There’s not a lot of signals for precipitation,” said Simosko. “It’s not one of those winters where it’s cold all winter. We’re not looking at that. Our winter will have warm and dry periods as well.”

In other words, about the time many people think winter is getting just a little too much to bear the weather should change for the better. It is a cycle many North Dakota residents have come to both despise and appreciate.

The CPC will issue its next three-month weather outlook November 16.

Fundingsland is a staff writer for the Minot Daily News.

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