Forecasters stand by snowy outlook

  • Article by: BILL MCAULIFFE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 5, 2011 - 9:14 PM

Even with a drought across much of Minnesota, including the Twin Cities, forecasters aren't budging from an outlook of a snowier- and colder-than-normal winter.

Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist for Weather Underground Inc., said the drought here isn't strong enough to withstand two larger forces: La Niña and the North Atlantic Oscillation. Those dynamics teamed up last year to generate the Twin Cities' fourth-snowiest winter on record and other havoc nationally.

Jeff Johnson, chief science officer for Telvent DTN, a forecasting firm in Burnsville, agreed. He added that the jet stream is about to drift south, allowing colder air masses to drape over the Upper Midwest and for wintry storm tracks to run across the region.

Likewise, Roseville meteorologist Frank Watson said he's holding to his earlier outlook, to the point of predicting a seasonal snowfall of 53 inches -- 1 inch below the new 30-year normal for the Twin Cities, but above the 120-year average of 46.6.

Meteorologist Paul Douglas is the outlier, arguing for a continuing dry trend. But his confidence in long-range forecasts "is about a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10," he said.

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