MINNEAPOLIS - While National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters predicted warmer-than-normal winter temperatures for much of the country through February, 2009, it hasn't felt that way lately.
The organization added that it expected variability, or substantial changes in temperature and precipitation across much of the country since recent climate patterns are only predictable a week or two in advance and that weather patterns could persist for weeks at a time.
"December was one of the coldest and snowiest on record. We haven't had one this bad since the 1970s or so," said National Weather Service observer Brad Sellner of Sleepy Eye.
"I'm afraid the cold, snowy weather will continue through much of January. I've been watching jet stream patterns that have been bringing us cold wether from Alaska. They've been getting overnight lows of minus 40 degrees F.," added Sellner.
He added that warm, moist air from the south has created some heavy snowfalls here when cold temperatures didn't come from arctic regions, particularly in central Minnesota where more than a foot of snow fell on Tuesday.
"When it isn't real cold, we're going to get a few more good, old-fashioned snow storms from the southwest yet this winter," he added.
Sellner predicted warmer-than-normal weather beginning the end of January and into February as the days get longer and the sun gets closer to earth.
The highest percentage of warmer-than-normal weather was forecast by NOAA for much of Missouri, Oklahoma and the north and western half of Arkansas.
Nearly as high a chance of warmer-than-normal temperatures were forecast for much of Iowa, Illinois and Texas, southern Wisconsin and Michigan plus the southeastern third of Nebraska.
Other states forecast with a smaller chance of warmer-than-normal temperatures through February included southern Minnesota, central Wisconsin, the southeastern corner of South Dakota, central Nebraska and most of Ohio.
Wetter-than-normal precipitation was forecast for Kansas, Oklahoma and most of Missouri and Arkansas.
For more information, visit www.noaanews.noaa.gov/
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.