Dry winter predicted
January 6th, 2011
Lincoln, NE – What a difference a year makes. Mike Tobias reports on why Nebraska is experiencing a mostly dry winter after record-breaking snow last year.
A year ago, Nebraska was covered with a thick blanket of snow, thanks to several major pre-January storms and the snowiest December on record. A year later: lots of bare ground and one of the lowest snowfall winters on record at this point in the season. University of Nebraska-Lincoln climatologist Ken Dewey said these trends are typical.
â€œSo we have these extremes. Itâ€™s actually more likely when you hit an extreme that itâ€™s not going to be anywhere near that the next time.â€
The science behind the trend this winter involves a strong La Nina. This is an ocean and atmosphere situation weâ€™re currently experiencing that usually results in extreme temperature swings.
The advantage of a La Nina winter for Nebraska, Dewey said, is the moisture doesnâ€™t get here.
â€œWeâ€™re having warm, dry air from the southwest, and if we donâ€™t have that then we get cold, relatively dry air from the arctic and we get these light snowfalls.â€
â€œItâ€™s not like itâ€™s not going to snow. Itâ€™s going to snow,â€ he added. â€œBut weâ€™re just not going to have those conditions that we did last year where weâ€™re getting a foot of snow at a time and then incredible wind speeds drifting in the highways, making transportation virtually impossible.â€
Dewey said some of that snow is coming in the next few days, along with a swing back to some colder temperatures. But he believes weâ€™re locked into this La Nina pattern for the winter, which is good news, unless you like breaking snowfall records.
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