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A warm winter?

Temperatures plunged this week, but will we have a warmer-than-normal winter?

Winter weather outlook map for 2014-15Our warm, pleasant fall was terminated by a harsh dose of winter reality this week. Temps plunged from the 50s last week to single digits (or below zero) today. It’s too early to see how our plants adapt to this sudden blast of cold weather. A blanket of snow fortunately fell before the coldest temps arrived; this will help to insulate our plants.

Winter is not going away—the “fun” has just begun. Colder-than-normal temperatures are expected for the next week.

In the long term, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) cites a 58% chance of an El Niño, leading to unusually warm ocean waters in the Equatorial Pacific and warmer than normal temperatures for us. Any El Niño effect will likely be weak.

The NOAA predicts a 33% chance of a warmer-than-normal winter for us. Not enough climate signals are available to predict any changes in precipitation. An updated forecast is available on November 20, 2014 at www.noaanews.noaa.gov.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2014. Another warm winter likely for western U.S., South may see colder weather. Accessed November 14. Washington D.C.

Written by Tom Kalb, Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University. Published in the NDSU Yard & Garden Report, November 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of source listed above.

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