Iowans are enduring much colder-than-normal, snowy weather for the last half of fall, and while there’s a little relief in sight for the weekend, the winter ahead is still a toss-up. Jeff Zogg, senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Johnston, says they’ve re-run all of their computer models to get a glimpse at December through February and so far, it’s 50-50.
“We’re calling for equal chances for temperature,” Zogg says. “That means there’s really no strong signal of above-, near- or below-normal temperatures. For precipitation, generally equal chances, maybe a little bit of a dry signal across the eastern part of the state.”
Armchair prognosticators may claim this current cold spell could be a sign of a bitter, blizzard-filled season ahead, while other say it’s an indicator a warmer winter is on the way. Zogg says nobody really knows at this point. “When you go back and look at past winters, really the temperature trends that you see in November really have very little if any predictability as to the rest of the winter,” Zogg says. “Yes, we have been quite cold for the first part of November but that would not necessarily translate into a certain trend for the rest of the winter.”
While much of Iowa should see highs in the 40s this weekend — a nice change from the 20s — but the travel forecast for Thanksgiving looks dicey. “This weekend, we’re looking for a warm-up, even a chance of rainfall on Saturday and Sunday,” Zogg says. “Temperatures will be warm enough for rain but there is the potential for some additional unsettled weather next week, particularly towards Thanksgiving. We’re seeing the potential for below-normal temperatures again, maybe another system to bring us some rain or snow.” Stay tuned in to the latest forecast at weather.gov.