Winter began cold and snowy across Iowa in November, but this month it’s a different story.
In fact, State Climatologist, Harry Hillaker says December temperatures may average warmer than November, which hasn’t happened since 1959.
Snowfall has also averaged about an inch and a half statewide, where in a normal year that figure might be closer to eight inches.
But Hillaker says it’s not yet a record-breaking year, “In fact we might have to go back 2006, we had less snow than December, in fact, oddly enough, four of the top ten least snowy Decembers have come since 2000, and on the other hand, five of the top ten have come also since 2000. So December’s kind of had a split personality here in recent years and here we’re getting the low end on the snowball, but overall moisture-wise, it’s just slightly below normal.”
Since April, meteorologists have also expected El Nino conditions to form, but so far the pattern has refused to fully develop. Even with signs pointing toward El-Nino, Hillaker says the typically warmer and drier Midwest winters are by no means guaranteed. He says a primary exception is the last El-Nino event five years ago, which brought a long, cold, and snowy winter to the Midwest.
Hillaker says, “And that was during a very strong el Nino and that didn’t happen very often but it happened that time so this year was just about anyone’s guess as to what the rest of the winter might be like. Although certainly the next couple weeks look rather cold and perhaps starting perhaps little bit beyond the new year might be getting a little bit wetter as well, which would probably mean snow, given the temperatures we’ve got at the moment.”