Report: Winter could be colder than usual. Or not.

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Get out the big coats – below-normal temperatures are likely in Minnesota in December, January and February, the national Climate Prediction Center indicated Thursday in its outlook for "meteorological" winter, the Star Tribune reports. (The report is noncommittal about snow.)

But don't assume that's an ironclad prediction, forecasters say. One meteorologist with the CPC in the Star Tribune described the outlook as "one of the most challenging we've faced in several years."

Forecasters have had a tough time putting together a winter forecast. El Niño is taking the winter off, the Star Tribune says, so the new outlook is based on less reliable indicators.

MPR's Paul Huttner on the Updraft blog says he is not inclined to agree with the updated CPC forecast.

Still, state officials have warned Minnesotans to prepare for the worst.

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