Despite this week’s prediction from the Old Farmer’s Almanac that Iowa may be in for a cold and snowy winter, long-range forecasts from another source indicate the winter ahead may NOT be so brutal.
National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Dergan says he’s basing his predictions on the El Nino weather pattern we’ve seen much of this year. Dergan says an El Nino pattern often means this part of the country trends toward a warmer-than-normal wintertime. He says the pattern could also mean more precipitation. Dergan says El Nino is characterized by warm waters off the coast of South America and its strength is determined by how far west in the Pacific those warm waters go.
“It’s really tough to predict exactly how much snow or rain we’ll get over the winter but with warmer temperatures in the forecast it really looks like a lot of that may fall as rain rather than snow,” Dergan says. Of course, he also advises keeping snow shovels close at hand, as there are no guarantees when it comes to Iowa weather. “El Nino patterns normally effect us temperature-wise more than precipitation, so with the temperatures trending towards above-normal, it would lend itself to having precipitation being more in the wet variety rather than the frozen variety,” he says.