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Winter outlook: Expect below normal temps

Border collie Glacy executes an acrobatic maneuver to catch a stick thrown by Chelsey Hansen, next to border collie Molly, Wednesday as the trio enjoy playing in the newly fallen snow at Buffalo Hills Park in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch1 / 4
Chelsey Hansen works on building a snowman as her enthusiastic border collies Glacy (left) and Molly gambol around her Wednesday at Buffalo Hills Park in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch2 / 4
Chelsey Hansen works on building a snowman as her border collies Glacy (left) and Molly investigate what she was up to Wednesday at Buffalo Hills Park in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch3 / 4
Chelsey Hansen works on building a snowman as her border collies Glacy (left) and Molly investigate what she was up to Wednesday at Buffalo Hills Park in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch4 / 4

This could be a long, cold, wet winter.

It's already an early starter with 2 inches of snow arriving in the Brainerd lakes area before Halloween. If more than 2 inches falls Friday, Nov. 3, a new single-day snowfall record will be established replacing the one in the books since 1997. Of course, the unforgettable Halloween blizzard of 1991, left 11 inches of snow still on the ground 26 years ago as of Nov. 3 in Brainerd.

This latest storm isn't promising nearly a foot of snow, but it may make things look the way the temperature is making it feel—less like fall and much more like winter. Temperatures are already well below normal highs of 46 degrees for this time of year. Monday's high may top out at 29 degrees. It's a chilly temperature that will be repeated Tuesday before the thermometer climbs back above freezing—by at least a few degrees.

Extended Accuweather forecasts indicate there may be a few days in the 40s possible before the weather makes the full turn into winter. But colder than average temps may be part of this coming winter's signature.

Winter outlook

"If La Nina conditions develop, we predict it will be weak and potentially short-lived, but it could still shape the character of the upcoming winter," said Mike Halpert, deputy director of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center in the U.S. winter outlook released in October. "Typical La Nina patterns during winter include above average precipitation and colder than average temperatures along the Northern Tier of the U.S. and below normal precipitation and drier conditions across the South."

La Nina has a 55-65 percent chance of developing before winter sets in, NOAA reported. A typical La Nina pattern means a more northern leaning jet stream.

"The latest Climate Prediction Center outlook indicates that odds are tilted towards below normal temperatures across much of northeast Minnesota," the National Weather Service in Duluth reported. The winter outlook favors below-average temperatures from Minnesota to the Pacific Northwest and in southeastern Alaska.

During a telephone news conference, Halpert said it would be surprising to see another warm winter following the past two, including the record-setting 2015. Halpert said the odds of seeing three top-10 warm winters is reduced, but not eliminated.

From December through February, NOAA expects most of Minnesota, including the lakes area, to have a greater than 33 percent chance for above-average precipitation.

"While the last two winters featured above-average temperatures over much of the nation, significant snowstorms still impacted different parts of the country," NOAA reported. "Snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advance because they depend upon the strength and track of winter storms."

An updated NOAA forecast will be released Nov. 16.

Looking at November's outlook, NWS in Duluth provided an overview for the Brainerd lakes area using NOAA data. Normally, the Brainerd area begins November with highs in the mid- to upper-40s before cooling to the low-30s by month's end. Normal lows start off in the 30s and cool to mid-teens by November's end.

Normal precipitation for November is 1.54 inches. Normal snowfall for November is 8.4 inches. Using data collected for 30 years, the normal monthly high temperature for November is 38.2 degrees with a normal monthly low of 22 degrees.

Records for November include:

• Warmest November: 2001—with a monthly average temperature of 40 degrees.

• Coldest November: 1959—with a monthly average of 18.5 degrees.

• Highest temp: 73 degrees—on Nov. 4, 1975.

• Coldest temp: 24 below—Nov. 30, 1964.

• Greatest monthly precipitation in inches: 3.79 inches—in November 1996.

• Least monthly precipitation: .15 inches—in 2013.

Weekend snowfall

A swath of central Minnesota—encompassing southern Cass, all of Crow Wing and southern Aitkin county, all of Morrison, Mille Lacs, Todd and Wadena counties—including the North Shore and the Arrowhead, were in a winter weather advisory Friday night until 7 a.m. Saturday with a period of moderate to potentially heavy snow predicted.

"Generally 1 to 3 inches of snowfall is expected late today through tonight, except for an area of higher amounts of 3 to 5 inches across parts of east-central Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin from Brainerd to Hinckley to Hayward and areas south, including parts of Interstate 35," the NWS in Duluth reported Friday.

October recap

October was the second snowiest in the Brainerd recording station's history and the 14th wettest.

The National Weather Service reported:

• The greatest amount of precipitation in a 24-hour period occurred on Oct. 2 when 1.18 inches was recorded.

• At least a trace of precipitation was recorded on 12 days. At least 0.01 inches fell on nine days. At least 0.1 inches fell on six days. At least 0.5 inches fell on two days. At least 1 inch fell on two days.

• October 2017 was above normal for snowfall with a total of 3 inches of snow for the month. This was 2.6 inches above the normal of 0.4 inches, making this the second snowiest October in station history.

• The greatest amount of snowfall in a 24-hour period occurred on Oct. 26, with 2 inches recorded.

• Two daily maximum snowfall records were broken for the month. On Oct. 26, the record daily maximum snowfall was set with 2 inches recorded. This broke the previous record of 1 inch set in 2010. On Oct. 27, the record daily maximum snowfall was set when 0.8 inches was recorded. This broke the previous record of a trace, which was set in

multiple years.

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