El Niño to Cause Big Changes in Iowa This Winter & We Dread It Already
Ah, winter in the Midwest. It would be awesome... if we didn't have to go outside.
The Farmers' Almanac has released its outlook for the winter of 2023-24 and it's got plenty of a four letter word in it. Unfortunately, that alone will make it much different than last winter. Since winter has been over in the Midwest for about five months, let's quickly look back.
December of 2022 was the 50th-coldest in Iowa history, with precipitation a little above average. It looked like we were in for a long, cold winter... until we weren't.
Both January and February brought above-normal temperatures and above-average precipitation. Even though the precip was above normal, it was a relative walk in the park in eastern Iowa, at least as far as snowfall was concerned.
The total snowfall in Waterloo for the winter of 2022-23 was just 20.8 inches. That was nearly 15 inches less than the winter before, and the lowest total since 2006.
In Cedar Rapids, 25.9 inches of snow fell from the sky last winter. It was four inches less than the previous winter and the lowest total since 2017.
Personally, I'd love a repeat of pretty much everything that happened last winter, but it doesn't appear likely.
In their 2023-24 Winter Outlook, the Farmers' Almanac says "the Brrr is Back!" Yes, cold is the four-letter word I mentioned at the top. So how bad are we talking?
Farmers' Almanac says "There are indications that an El Niño, will be brewing in the latter half of 2023, lasting into the winter of 2024. If we consider that alongside our tried-and-true forecast formula, it means that cold temperatures should prevail throughout the country and bring snow, sleet, and ice." Wonderful.
While Wisconsin and Illinois may be especially stormy this winter, the Farmers' Almanac forecasts "Winter in the Great Plains and Rockies will usher in plenty of cold temperatures and occasional bouts of storminess, bringing widespread rains and snows."
Meteorological winter doesn't start until December 1, but if you do just one thing in preparation for this winter, I'd recommend a furnace check-up.