How bad will this winter be in Minnesota? Could go either way

A winter scene at Como Lake in St. Paul
A winter scene at Como Lake in St. Paul on March 10, 2019.
Caroline Yang for MPR News file

Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a frigid winter, with minus 40-degree days in January. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is putting out a neutral forecast, said meteorologist Peter Boulay with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources climate working group.

“The Farmers’ Almanac has my mom and her friends just terrorized, just petrified with fear,” Boulay said. “It generally doesn’t look like it will be.”

But he said anything can happen, calling the atmosphere “fickle” and pointing to both a blob of warm water in the Pacific Ocean and a warmer-than-average autumn in Alaska that could send Minnesota’s winter either direction on the Winter Misery Index, now the Snow and Cold Index.

“We had a debate. Is it the Winter Misery Index or the winter fun index? So, we kind of compromised,” Boulay said.

One thing that is certain, he said, the winters are bringing more precipitation.

To hear this episode of Climate Cast, hit play on the audio player above.

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