Blame La Nina: There's a good chance it'll be colder and snowier this winter

Blame La Nina.
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Minnesota, get ready. La Nina is coming for us.

Federal forecasters released their outlook for this winter, saying La Nina (a weather phenomenon characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures) could make this winter colder and wetter for people in the northern United States. And this forecast is pretty similar to the forecasts the farmers almanacs released back in August.

Mike Halpert, the deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, says this is the "most likely outcome" for this winter. But the good news is that if these La Nina conditions come to fruition (sometime in the late fall or early winter), they are expected to be weak and potentially short-lived.

NOAA explains it all in the video below, and we break down what Minnesota can expect if you scroll down a little more.

Minnesota, grab your shovels

Normal precipitation for Minnesota for December through February ranges from 1-5 inches, with higher precipitation typically occurring in the eastern portion of the state, according to this map by the Minnesota Climatology Working Group. (For a breakdown of normal precipitation by month, click here, and for the average snowfall in the Twin Cities, here.)

For those living in northern Minnesota, there's a roughly 33 percent chance you'll see more precipitation than normal from December through February, while most of the state has an equal chance of seeing either wetter or drier conditions this winter.

It'll be colder too

There's no doubt Minnesota gets cold in the winter, and this winter will be no different – no matter where you are in the state.

The average temperature in the state from December through February ranges from an average of 6 degrees in northern Minnesota and 16 degrees in southern Minnesota, according to this map by the Minnesota Climatology Working Group. (For more seasonal normals, click here.)

NOAA says northwestern Minnesota has a roughly 40 percent chance of seeing temperatures that are colder than normal, while the rest of Minnesota has a 33 percent chance of being colder.

For updated forecast information from the National Weather Service, which breaks down outlooks by day, week, month and season, click here.

Next Up


Experts predict colder, wetter winter across the Northern Plains

Long range predictions from NOAA show colder and wetter than average conditions for Minnesota and other states in the northern tier of the country. That's because for the second year in a row the weather pattern known as La Nina is in play. Other weather factors could still disrupt it though. The agency warns flooding might also be a problem again. Continued droughts are in store for the southwest U.S.