Is this the calm before the storm? Are we being lulled into a false sense of security, only to get repeatedly spanked by a "polar vortex" in a couple of months? "El Niño will save us!" Maybe. Maybe not.

The biggest El Niño warm phase of the Pacific since 1998 should keep our flow more westerly, howling from the Pacific, for more of the winter than usual, cutting down on the volume of bitter air from Siberia and the Yukon. In theory.

If this is your first Minnesota winter, congratulations! It might not be too bad. After 30 winters, I've developed some coping skills: a few midwinter getaways, a couple of space heaters and ear muffs on the coldest days.

GFS guidance shows a colder front just in time for Thanksgiving, but by the time it's actually cold enough for snow, moisture will be lacking.

Wednesday's storm may drop 1 to 2 inches of rain — a good soaking before the ground freezes solid in a few weeks.

No, winter hasn't been canceled. It's just running late this year.