State climatologist Al Dutcher says the El Nino weather pattern seems to be growing, which is often a sign of a milder winter to come for the Midwest.
“We’re seeing these upper air lows moving from the western United States through the Northern Plains on a fairly regular basis, about a week’s spread between events,” Dutcher says. “They have shown a tendency to slow down in the center part of the country and hang around for a couple of days. That’s consistent with the type of pattern we would see during an El Nino. It’s just we haven’t seen the moisture return in the western part of the state that we have in the eastern part of the state.”
Dutcher says he doesn’t expect a strong Arctic influence on the weather this winter. He says there’s no evidence a polar jet stream will bring super-cold air into the nation’s midsection.
“Yes, it will impact the Eastern United States more than likely the Upper Great Lakes and the Northeastern United States, but the direct channel of cold air coming into the center part of the country just doesn’t appear to be there,” Dutcher says. “If you look at this last 30 or 40-day period, all of these cold air outbreaks just seem to not have the penetration down into the Central and Southern Plains that they’ve had earlier in the year.”
Dutcher says weather patterns may stabilize as we get into winter. He says it could also mean we’re in for a stormy fall and an early winter, but a “fairly benign” mid-winter and the potential for above-normal moisture as we head into spring.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton