Report:  Iowa May Have a Warmer Winter

(Radio Iowa) Iowa could be in store for a warmer-than-normal winter ahead, according to the long-range forecast from the Climate Prediction Center. State climatologist Justin Glisan says the report calls for a warming trend for the upper Midwest during the climatological winter, which runs from December 1st through February 29th.

“This goes hand in hand with being in a moderate-to-strong El Nino,” Glisan says. “Typically, El Nino winters are warmer than average and that can have an impact on the type of precipitation we get.” A warmer winter might make you think we’d have less snow, but he says that’s not always the case.

“If we look at snowfall patterns going back to 1950, with moderate-to-strong El Ninos, we typically see less snow but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we see less precipitation,” Glisan says, “however, if we look at the Climate Prediction Center’s precipitation outlook, no clear signal there.” Glisan says precipitation in Iowa varied from past winter seasons.

“If we look at the last few El Nino winters that we have had, 2010, 2016 and 2019, we’ve kind of been all over the board in terms of precipitation,” he says. “2010 was the 45th wettest, 2016 was the 31st wettest, but then you go to 2019, very wet conditions and the third wettest on record.” While the report predicts the winter ahead may be warmer for Iowa and the region, it shows above-average precipitation for much of the southeastern U-S, and below-average precip across parts of the north.