#10 — 2018 mild winter, little precipitation

Mandy Taniguchi/MDN This photo taken in Minot shows the temperature on Dec. 18. Minot and the area have been experiencing an unseasonably mild winter with little precipitation.

The saying goes if you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes and it will change.

But this winter of 2018 hasn’t changed into anything like many past ones with heavy snowfall and extremely low temperatures.

Instead, Minot and area have been experiencing an unseasonably mild winter with little precipitation.

As of mid-December, Minot and the nearby area had less than 11 inches of precipitation since the beginning of the year. That’s more than six inches below the long-term average. Other areas throughout North Dakota have had minimal precipitation as well.

“It is going to be warm and there’s no precipitation in the forecast for the foreseeable future,” National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Abeling of Bismarck told the Minot Daily News in mid-December.

He called the warm and dry weather pattern “almost like a Chinook.” An abundance of dry air over the Rocky Mountains was working as a ridge in the upper atmosphere over the northern United States that acts as a barrier to any possible intervention of cold weather.

The current warm spell is not a result of impending El Nino, a warming of sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. But instead linked closer to weather conditions originating in tropical climates, the Minot Daily News reported on Dec. 14.

“We can’t give El Nino credit for this,” Abeling told the newspaper.

Although the weather could change to a more normal season of snow, people are enjoying the milder winter temperatures.

Shortly before Christmas, the weather changed again, bringing snow and ice covering streets, driveways and parking lots.

The day after Christmas, those living in North Dakota knew winter was really back when a storm hit the state, dropping several inches of snow in the area and various amonts in other parts of the state.