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Winter predictions: Warm, dry again

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River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Wisconsinites can expect another warmer-and-drier winter than normal. That's the latest outlook for December through February from the national Climate Prediction Center.

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An El Nino pattern was developing in the Pacific Ocean, carrying the prospects for a rougher winter in the Upper Midwest. Mike Halpert of the Climate Prediction Center said the El Nino suddenly came to a halt in September, but there's always a chance it can redevelop during the winter.

An El Nino pattern collects warmer water in the Pacific Ocean, resulting in a re-positioning of the jet stream and stronger storms in many places. Halpert said forecasters have no idea why the previous El Nino stalled, but it was something rarely seen over the last 60 years of forecasting.

While the forecast is drier, Halpert cannot say exactly how much snow Wisconsin might get or where it will fall. He said last winter was much warmer than expected and it set the table for the warmest year since records began being kept 118 years ago.

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