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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published December 12 2012

Weather Talk: Early December conditions don’t predict rest of winter

We’re halfway through December and there is not a lot of snow on the ground, and there have only been a couple of truly cold days. Very cold air has been locked in place across Alaska and the western half of Canada by the jet stream.

Most of the medium-range computer weather models we use to give us clues about changes in the jet stream have several times advertised the possibility of this Arctic air dumping into the northern Plains. But the cold weather has mostly remained in Canada, and the few heavy snowfalls in the region have missed us locally.

This makes one wonder if we are headed for another soft winter season. I recall a winter with a similar start in 1988. That winter also followed a summer drought. There was very little snow until just after Christmas. Then we got almost 40 inches in three weeks.

This is not meant to be a forecast. Instead, it is a warning to not base expectations for an entire winter on the weather in early December.

Have a weather question you’d like answered? Email weather@wday.com,

or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108

Read the blog at http://stormtrack.areavoices.com/.