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


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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State officials: Winter's coming – get ready

Monday marks the beginning of Winter Hazard Awareness Week, a state effort to get residents prepared for harsh, dangerous weather ahead. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is focusing on a range of wintry risks this week. Last year's mild winter may have lulled people into a sense of complacency.

A big chill as winter settles in

Dig out the extra layers because the mercury is falling, starting Monday. The Weather Service and local forecasters say temps in the metro will hover around a mere 20 degrees for the next couple of days.