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What will this winter bring?

Published: Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 2:00 p.m. CST • Updated: Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 2:25 p.m. CST

Keep your fingers crossed … Bureau County may not have a repeat of last winter’s extreme cold and snow.

Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel has announced the NOAA Climate Predication Center’s winter outlook shows equal chances of above, below or near average temperatures, as well as below-average precipitation for Illinois and the Great Lakes region. In other words, it looks like they are not expecting a repeat of last winter for Illinois with its extremely cold temperatures and snowy weather, Angel said.

Last year, the Quad Cities area, which includes Bureau County, had its second snowiest and its fifth coldest winter on record.

WQAD News 8 meteorologist James Zahara said he agrees with NOAA’s outlook for the coming winter.

“Given the trends we’ve seen, though considered early, it would be quite surprising to experience the same if not worse conditions like we encountered last winter,” Zahara said. “I don’t believe it will come close to the second snowiest winter like we had last year where snow amounts were just over 60 inches. The normal is about 32 inches. So, above normal snowfall is likely, though just over 40 is a good target for now.”

Even temperatures are projected to be not as fierce this winter, Zahara said. Right now, the trend is showing temperatures to be about just 3 degrees below the winter average.

“But keep in mind, there are a lot more variables that we’ll be analyzing the next few months that will go into the winter forecast equation,” Zahara said. “This is something we’ll definitely keep an eye on. Time will tell.”

As far as weather for the more immediate fall, Angel said both September and the rest of the fall shows an equal chance of above, below, near-average temperature and precipitation for Illinois. The north-central United States is not expected to have below-average temperatures, like it did this summer, he said.

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