Weather whiplash means more than flip-flopping from drought to flood. It means that winter can vary from a bitter "Polar Vortex" to what we're experiencing now: a perfectly normal winter, for Tulsa, Okla.

The metro area should have picked up a cool foot of snow by Dec. 8. But only 5 inches of snow has fallen — much of that melting on contact early last week.

El Niño winters tend to be milder and drier. During the last major El Niño winter (1997-98) 45 inches of snow fell at MSP. In 1982-83 a whopping 74 inches fell. Every storm is different — it's dangerous making broad generalizations. But one thing is as certain as the wart on the end of my nose: The upcoming winter will be shorter than average.

Forties continue into Friday; a few rain showers sprout Thursday along the leading edge of cooler air. A light mix is possible over the weekend, but ECMWF guidance shows the next (big) storm tracking east of Minnesota.

Colder air returns late next week. You may need a heavy jacket within 10 to 14 days. Nothing polar is on the horizon (yet).