Weather: A look into the crystal snowball
The weather roller coaster rolls on. After highs in the mid 70s as recently as Oct. 12, temperatures this week often struggled to reach 40. Look for the ride to continue as high temperatures this weekend peak in the 50s followed by highs again struggling to reach 40 by the middle of next week. Typically this time of year we see highs in the mid 40s. Sunday marks the first day of fall where the average low temperature reaches 32.
The National Weather Service forecast finally includes the word snow. They are calling for a chance of snow showers Wednesday. They've also released an updated Winter Outlook. It predicts a colder and wetter than average winter in the north woods - the odds for both are greater than 40 percent. The factor most responsible is La Niña.
The Winter Outlook also mentions a wild card - arctic oscillation. Basically arctic oscillation is a pattern of atmospheric pressure variations, referred to as positive and negative. In positive phase pressure is low and influences the jet stream to blow consistently from east to west - conducive to mild weather in the northern United States. In its negative phase pressure is high and winds are weaker and the jet stream can steer brutally cold and snowy weather into the north woods. The arctic oscillation cannot be accurately predicted more than two weeks in advance.
Looking for yet another way to predict the severity of our winter weather? You could start tracking October snow cover across Siberia. Some scientists are saying they can show a correlation between heavy October snow cover in this region of Russia and below average winter temperatures across the northern regions of the United States.
So far this month snow totals are above average in western Siberia and below average in eastern Siberia. Guess that isn't of much help.
Siemers is the Pioneer's circulation director.
Email him at tsiemers@