While the warmer temperatures have been nice for many who call this area home, others, including snowmobile enthusiasts, are looking out the window wondering when, or if, snow is ever going to fall.
Although the temperatures certainly have been cooler in recent days, the region has yet to experience what one would classify as winter weather yet.
Milder than average temperatures combined with very dry conditions have meant this time of the year has been much more ideal for times when one has to venture outdoors.
While those temperatures have been nice for many who call this area home, others, including snowmobile enthusiasts are longingly looking out the window wondering when, or if, snow is ever going to fall.
One year ago, early predictions for the 2011-12 winter were for colder temperatures and higher than normal snowfall.
That forecast certainly fell short, as the region experienced one of the mildest winters on record.
So, what is in store for Winter 2012-13?
According to early predictions, more of the same.
While winter does not officially start for another two weeks and one day, forecasts show in the near term the weather which the area has been experiencing is likely going to continue.
However, the forecast for the winter as a whole is for colder than normal temps.
What about snow?
The forecast for the next few weeks is for the current dry spell to continue, and over the entire winter the expectation is for lower than average snowfall.
In other words, a white Christmas may not happen.
According to early forecasts from this summer, an El Niño weather pattern was moving in which would lead to a more normal winter pattern.
By the end of October, the El Niño discussions were over, as the weakened pattern had all but disappeared.
“There is a much better chance of El Niño not happening this year,” said Shawn Devinny, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “The El Niño watch has basically been cancelled.”
What that means for weather forecasters is the trends are inconsistent – meaning all forecasting is really up in the air.
The official forecast from the National Weather Service at this point is for equal chances of colder weather than is normal on one end and near normal temperatures on the other.
However, the chance for snowfall still remains lower than normal.
“Things are really up in the air right now,” said Devinny, agreeing the area could really use some moisture.
In fact, according ot the U.S. drought outlook, southwest Minnesota is now officially classified as extremely dry.
So, the question one has to ask is do we want snow or not?
Farmers right now would take any moisture in any form, and winter recreation enthusiasts would prefer lots of snow starting now and continuing through the end of March.
Most of us would like at least a covering of snow for Dec. 25, but as of right now it appears those in the weather forecasting business have no solid information about which way the winter is going to lean.
The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a colder, average snowfall kind of winter this year in the Midwest, and those looking for big snow are going to have to travel to the east where it is forecasting higher than normal snowfall.
It appears the El Niño pattern that could have relieved the drought conditions is not going to live up to expectations, which means the midwest is likely going to head into the spring clamoring for moisture.
Let’s just hope it comes.