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SPECIAL REPORT: StormTrack9 Winter Outlook

Whether you enjoy winter-time activities or not, it is that time of year when everyone is wondering what the winter season has in store.

After two winter seasons in a row with colder than normal temperatures, above normal precipitation, and heavy snow continuing into the spring, you might be wondering if it could possibly happen three years in a row.

Wausau normally receives 37 inches of snow during the winter months of December, January, and February. This past winter Wausau picked up 70 inches of snow, which broke the all time snowfall record for winter.

So far no obvious ocean or atmospheric patterns have formed that would give us a strong indication of how this winter will play out. The presence of El Niño or La Niña typically plays a large role on winter trends, but as of now, neither is expected to form in the Pacific ocean this winter. Ocean temps are expected to remain in the neutral range.

The Climate Prediction Center’s three month outlook is indicating equal chances of above, below, or near normal temperatures across the Great Lakes region. However, they are favoring a higher chance that precipitation will be above normal in Wisconsin and across the entire northern half of the country.

So we’ve had two cold and snowy winters in a row, but looking back in the record books, it’s not very often that it happens three times in a row. The last time we experienced three winters in a row with below normal temps was during the winters from 1988 through 1991. The last time there was both above normal precipitation and below normal temperatures was during the winters from 1970 through 1973.

Considering all of this, our StormTrack 9 forecast for the winter months of December, January, and February has a good chance of less snow than last winter, so less than 70 inches, and temperatures closer to normal (17.5°), so slightly warmer than last year (16.7°).

Even if the winter ends up near normal for both temperatures and snowfall you can expect there to be some bouts of bitter cold and couple of big snowstorms – as is typical in Wisconsin.

Sam Kuffel

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