Weather: White Christmas? Maybe.
It may be difficult to tell just by looking, but meteorological winter began Thursday. Bare ground stretches the length of the north woods.
Typically at this point we'd have received around 10 inches of snow. Thus far, 3 to 5 inches have been recorded in the Bemidji area.
High temperatures over the past week have been around average but the morning low temperatures have been 5-10 degrees warmer than average. Look for some changes early next week as a low pressure system crosses the area and drags in colder air behind it. Highs Monday may struggle to reach 10-15 degrees.
Is it too early to question whether or not we'll have a white Christmas? Yes.
After all, this is northern Minnesota. The National Weather Service lists the probability of white Christmas in any given year as close to 95 percent in the Bemidji area. That makes northern Minnesota one of the areas statistically most likely nationally to experience snow on the ground on Christmas day.
If you are headed south this weekend the story will be different. A winter storm is expected to set up across western Kansas and track northeast though southern Minnesota and into Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Meteorologists refer to winter storms following this particular track as "Panhandle Hookers" as they are storms that cross the Rocky Mountains and strengthen in the Panhandle areas of Texas and Oklahoma before "hooking" northeasterly. Areas from Omaha through Winona and into Marquette, Mich., are likely to receive 3 to 5 inches of snow.
This storm follows on the heels of what was one of the driest falls on record across much of Minnesota. The airport in Minneapolis recorded its driest fall on record with only 1.36 inches of moisture. In Bemidji just more than 2 inches of precipitation was recorded from September through November. This compares to a long-term average of more than 6 inches.
Siemers is the Pioneer's circulation director.
Email him at tsiemers@