Typical Minot winter expected

La Nina still could change the outlook

File photograph So far, predictions are uncertain for more or less snow in the region this winter.

Not too warm. Not too cold. Not too much snow. Maybe.

That’s the initial winter weather outlook for the Minot region as issued by the Climate Prediction Center. A La Nina watch remains in effect, a factor that has forecasters using terms like “variable” to describe the winter ahead. Long-range weather forecasting is not an exact science but, overall, usually provides a pretty good indicator of what might occur in the weeks and months ahead.

“We are expected to be in a La Nina pattern. There’s a good chance of it happening,” said Ken Simosko, National Weather Service meteorologist in Bismarck. “What that typically means for us is favoring colder than normal temperatures and precipitation slightly above average.”

The latest three-month weather outlook by the CPC calls for an “equal” chance of average temperatures for Minot through January. There is an elevated chance of precipitation for extreme western North Dakota through the same period. The remainder of the state is expected to see “normal” snowfall.

“There’s not a lot of signals for precipitation. For Minot, probably an average winter,” said Simosko. “It’s not one of those winters where it’s cold all winter. We’re not looking at that.”

Submitted photograph While most of the country is expected to enjoy warmer than average temperatures for the period of November through January, early indicators have weather forecasters calling for more “typical” winter temperatures for North Dakota.

Normal snowfall for Minot is 46 inches.

“You should be around that average,” said Simosko. “We wouldn’t expect a whole lot more. Your winter will have warm and dry periods as well.”

In other words, about the time many people think winter is getting just a little too much to bear the weather should change for the better. It is a cycle many North Dakota residents have come to both despise and appreciate.

A cold front moving into the region later this week will certainly trigger thoughts of the winter ahead. Minot is expected to see a drastic swing in temperatures.

“You’ll hit about 64 for a high on Wednesday, but that will change,” said Simosko. “The cold front will slip through with gusts to maybe 35 to 40 miles per hour overnight with a high of 38 on Thursday. With the wind chill it will feel more like 25. We’re in that transition phase from summer to winter.”

The CPC will issue its next three-month weather outlook November 16.

Say it ain’t snow!

There is a hint of snow in Minot’s weather forecast for later this week. However, say forecasters, if any snowfall occurs it shouldn’t amount to more than a sighting. The National Weather Service says there is a chance of rain and snow at mid-day Thursday and then 10 percent chance of snow late Thursday. No buildup is expected.

“It looks like the greatest chance for snow is in the Turtle Mountains, a half-inch or so,” said Ken Simosko, Bismarck NWS meteorologist. “Minot could see some snowflakes, three-tenths to a quarter inch of snow.”

Freezing temperatures are expected Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. The historic average overnight low for those days is 29 degrees.