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

Above normal precipitation?
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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. 

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