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Stephen Span of Duluth exhales a cloud of vapor in the Feb. 27 subzero cold on Superior Street in downtown Duluth. Span was headed for the Skywalk with its more favorable climate. “My joints get stiff,” he said, referring to how this winter’s cold has affected him. Predications for the coming winter — like predictions for the cold winter past — are for warmer-than-normal conditions. (File / News Tribune)

Warm winter ahead? Experts say it’s likely

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Duluth Minnesota 424 W. First St. 55802

The nation’s weather experts are predicting a good chance at a warmer-than-normal winter for the Northland.

The most recent

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December-January-February forecast issued by the Climate Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls for a large area of warmer-than-average conditions from the Pacific Northwest stretching east into Wisconsin. Forecasters are most confident of a warmer winter in Montana and the Dakotas.

Much of Alaska also is in an area predicted to be warmer than usual, while the extreme southern tier of states — from Arizona to Louisiana and parts of Florida — could see below-normal temperatures.

The seasonal forecast for winter has most of the Northland in an area of no significant departure from normal for snowfall, but sandwiched between areas of below-normal precipitation to the west and east. The forecast is good news for the drought-stricken South, with a better-than-even chance of above-normal rainfall from California to Florida.

Before anyone puts too much stock in the long-term forecast, however, remember that the Climate Prediction Center had Minnesota in an area of warmer-than-normal probability last winter, which turned out to be among the coldest on record.

The experts’ forecast is in contrast with the Farmer’s Almanac, which is predicting another cold winter for our region.

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