Skip to main content

NOAA releases official 2020-21 winter outlook for the US, here's what it says about Minnesota

Above normal precipitation?
snow, snowplow

Some Minnesotans have already gassed up their snowblowers in anticipation of winter, and this coming cold season could bring above normal precipitation to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. 

That's according to the official winter forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which calls for above normal precipitation all but a sliver of Minnesota (southwest corner) and near normal temperatures. 

“With La Nina well established and expected to persist through the upcoming 2020 winter season, we anticipate the typical, cooler, wetter North, and warmer, drier South, as the most likely outcome of winter weather that the U.S. will experience this year,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

Areas shaded in green are forecast to have wetter than normal conditions December-February.

Areas shaded in green are forecast to have wetter than normal conditions December-February.

It's key to acknowledge that the official winter forecast covers December through February, so the long-range outlook for March and Minnesota's 2021 spring won't be released until just before Thanksgiving (Nov. 19). 

Areas shaded in blue are forecast to have colder than normal temperatures December-February. 

Areas shaded in blue are forecast to have colder than normal temperatures December-February. 

Meteorologist Sven Sundgaard covered La Nina's potential impacts on Minnesota about a month ago. He wrote: 

"La Nina's effect on Minnesota weather is a bit murky.

"Whereas El Nino is a very strong correlation for milder winters – 3 out of 4 El Nino episodes result in warmer than normal Minnesota temperatures – La Nina almost cuts 50-50 with a slight favorability toward the cooler side.

"There’s also bit more correlation to wetter winter conditions (either more rain or snow).

"One must keep in mind that numerous things impact seasonal weather patterns and La Nina is just one. If other forces are stronger, which our climate models suggest this year, La Nina’s impact may not be much."

In August, the Old Farmer's Almanac unveiled its 2020-21 winter forecast and called for above normal snowfall for Minnesota and Wisconsin, with the snowiest periods in "late December, early and late January, late February, and early March." 

The Farmers' Almanac is also on board with thinking that Minnesota and the Upper Midwest is in line for colder and wetter than normal conditions

Many Minnesotans got their first snowflakes of the season on Thursday morning, and more will get in on the snow this weekend when a low pressure system moves through the region. 

Sign up for our BREAKING WEATHER newsletters

The latest update from Novak Weather

Next Up

IMG_7030

Watch: Storm updates after heavy hail slams Twin Cities

Sven Sundgaard is providing an update after Thursday's flash hail storm.

kim crockett facebook sos

MN GOP apologizes over antisemitic sequence in candidate's campaign video

Party leader says candidate didn't know the imagery perpetuated an antisemitic trope.

storm, severe

Tornado, severe thunderstorm watches issued in Minnesota

In addition to possible tornadoes, there is a threat for damaging winds and very large hail.

House sale keys door

High prices, stiff competition putting off homebuyers in Twin Cities

Prices continue to rise in the metro, but there are signs of buyer fatigue.

Screen Shot 2022-05-19 at 1.59.51 PM

Series of explosions at manufacturing plant injures 6 in Wisconsin

The blast rocked the Wisconsin town just before 7:45 a.m.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Medford man dies in Le Sueur County crash

The 49-year-old was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Denisovan molar

MN researcher part of team behind 'revolutionary' discovery of ancient tooth in Laos

The molar found in a remote cave is believed to have belonged to a Denisovan girl who lived 164,000-130,000 years ago.

Eagle Ridge Middle School

Charges: Sting catches MN principal trying to hire child prostitute

Authorities alleged Mohamed Selim attempted to meet a 15-year-old girl for sex on Tuesday.

cub donuts 1

Nominate a 'local hero' to get a dozen Cub donuts from Salvation Army

The organization is looking for 1,000 volunteers to help with the effort in the metro.

Minnesota State Patrol helicopter windshield broken after duck flies through it.

Duck smashes through chopper window and hits State Patrol pilot

Two pilots were on the aircraft at the time, with one of them sustaining a head injury.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Thursday, May 19

It's been 805 days since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Minnesota on March 5, 2020.

Related

SNOW

What NOAA's winter outlook says about Minnesota

A moderate La Niña winter is expected.

snow

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.

snow, snowing

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

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

snow

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, snowplow

Latest on winter storm set to hit Minnesota this week

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

snow, snowplow

'Frigid & Snowy': The Farmers' Almanac releases winter forecast

Fun fact: It last snowed in the Twin Cities 110 days ago (as of Aug. 26).