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By gawd something more reliable than a farmer with an almanac has released a winter prediction. Behold, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center is calling for the December-February period to be influenced by La Niña

In a classic La Niña pattern, Minnesota sits in a zone of equal chances for above-, near- and below-normal temperatures and precipitation. Areas to the east, including Wisconsin and Michigan, sit in the zone that commonly gets warmer than normal temps and more precipitation than usual during a La Niña winter.

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"The outlook does not project seasonal snowfall accumulations as snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advance," NOAA explains. 

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This La Niña is expected to be moderate (they can be classified as weak, moderate or strong). There have been five previous moderate strength La Niña winters. Here's how much snow fell in the Twin Cities those winters. 

  • 1955-56: 45.2 inches
  • 1970-71: 54.7 inches
  • 1995-96: 55.5 inches
  • 2011-12: 22.3 inches
  • 2020-21: 48.7 inches

The Twin Cities averages about 54 inches of snow each year, so one of the five was out of the ordinary. 

Ironically, the La Niña winter of 1995-96 resulted in the snowiest winter in Duluth's history, with the Northland city racking up 135.4 inches (well above its average of 86 inches). 

"La Niña's effect on Minnesota weather is a bit murky," says meteorologist Sven Sundgaard. "One must keep in mind that numerous things impact seasonal weather patterns and La Niña is just one."

Winter is coming. It will snow. It will get cold. Nothing too crazy about that. 

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