La Niña watch: What it could mean for Minnesota's winter

There were wind chill readings in northern Minnesota on Thursday morning.
snow, snowing

The chances of a La Niña winter have increased slightly, and with it comes an increasing chance that Minnesota could have a colder, perhaps snowier, winter than usual. 

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued a La Niña watch in July, which at the time predicted a 50-55% chance of a La Niña winter. The chance, as of an Aug. 13 update from NOAA, increased to 60% for the fall and winter. 

If the La Niña comes to fruition, the colder ocean Pacific Ocean temperatures and positioning of the jet stream can result in a weather pattern that brings more cold air and sometimes more precipitation to the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest, including Minnesota. 

But as the National Weather Service is quick to point out, "every La Niña is different, and not all La Niña winters behave the same way." Also, "the strength of the La Niña may make a difference in how it affects our weather both in terms of precipitation and temperature (so far, this La Niña is expected to be weak)." 

A La Niña winter categorized as "weak" has happened six times since 1950, according to the CPC. Compared to the seasonal snowfall average in the Twin Cities area (54 inches), the snowfall totals during a weak La Niña year have varied, though the most three recent have produced below normal snowfall. 

  • 1954-55: 33.9 inches
  • 1964-65: 73.7 inches
  • 1971-72: 64.4 inches
  • 1974-75: 64.2 inches
  • 1983-84: 98.6 inches
  • 1995-96: 55.5 inches
  • 2000-01: 75.8 inches
  • 2005-06: 44.4 inches
  • 2008-09: 45.0 inches
  • 2011-12: 22.3 inches

Both the Old Farmer's Almanac and The Farmers' Almanac recently released winter forecasts and both are predicting cooler and wetter than normal seasons for Minnesota. You can read the Old Farmer's Almanac prediction here, and the other almanac's forecast here

Follow Bring Me The News on YouTube

Meanwhile, there were hints of winter in northern parts of Minnesota on Wednesday as winds howling from the northwest created some of the first wind chill readings of the changing season.

It wasn't bitter cold by any means, but places like Thief River Falls saw morning temps of around 50 feel more like 45 degrees due to the wind chill. 

Minnesota weather forecast with Novak Weather

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 6.53.17 PM

Mike Lindell's MyPillow offering discounts using the code 'Qanon'

The Shakopee-based company is under the microscope because of the recent actions of its owner.

Surly Brewing

Facing aluminum can shortage, Surly unveils solution: 'Cantyhose'

The brewery came up with a creative way to repurpose unused cans.

Liam Robbins

Gophers stay perfect at home by crushing 7th-ranked Michigan

Liam Robbins and Marcus Carr were too much for the previously undefeated Wolverines.

police lights

Four teens arrested over robberies in Minneapolis

They teens were found in a vehicle that was taken during an earlier carjacking.

Boundary Waters/BWCA

All BWCA visitors will now have to watch three 'Leave No Trace' videos

Visitors left an "unacceptably high amount" of damage last year.


Ten fatal overdoses in past 6 weeks reported in region of northern MN

Law enforcement agencies have issued a plea to the general public.

u.s. district court minnesota - federal court minneapolis

Bracing for security threats, federal courthouses closing in Minnesota

Security is also being ramped up at the state capitol.

N95 mask

3M sues Florida company that sold 10K counterfeit N95 masks to HCMC

The Maplewood company has obtained a temporary injunction against the firm.

vaccine, covid

Walz, Whitmer, and Evers call on Trump Admin. to buy more vaccines

It comes after The Washington Post reported that the country's COVID vaccine reserves have been exhausted.



Sven Sundgaard: What La Nina means for Minnesota's 2020-21 winter

While El Nino is a slam dunk for warmer winters, La Nina is less predictable.

La Niña Watch issued: Minnesota at risk for snowier, colder winter

Is there a direct correlation between La Niña and snowfall in the Twin Cities?

snow, snowplow

Winter storm watch: Heaviest snow forecast to impact Twin Cities

The storm will bring impacts to much of Minnesota Thursday and Friday.


The Farmers' Almanac unveils 2020-21 winter forecast for Minnesota

There appear to be a lot of farmers who enjoy predicting weather and writing almanacs.

snow, buses, metro transit

Winter storm watch issued in Minnesota, includes Twin Cities

Snow could be quite heavy at times on Tuesday afternoon.

snow, snowplow

Latest on winter storm set to hit Minnesota this week

Details should come more into focus in the next 24 hours.