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Temps climb, mild winter forecastTell North Platte what you think
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Long-range, the outlook is for another mild winter, as temperatures climb back into the 60s as November ends.

A couple inches of snow fell in North Platte Monday, but left just three-tenths of an inch of moisture, according to the National Weather Service in North Platte.

Mild winter

Long range, the winter forecast is mild, according to the state climatologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Al Dutcher said Monday that December through February is typically a dry period across the state and it is apt to be that way this year.

However, he expects the weather to be a little cooler this winter than last.

Dutcher said the problem last winter was La Nina and the northern jet remained far north and kept very cold air from infiltrating the southern and northern plains. Currently the state is not in a La Nina or El Nino weather pattern.

Dutcher said the northern jet stream already has carved out significant troughing east of the Rocky Mountains bringing decent snow pack in central and southern Canada and the northern third of North Dakota.

"Therefore, we do have a snow foundation in place, so that will make a big difference. It should reduce the likelihood that we'll see the extent of the above normal temperature pattern that we experienced last winter," he said.

Killer drought

Dutcher said it will take lots of moisture to break the drought.

"We would have to set a record snow season, and even then, I don't know if it would be enough," he said. "It's going to take an exceptionally wet pattern next April through May to have a decent shot at reducing the drought."

Dutcher said as the state progresses through fall, forecasters are backing off on a projected El Nino event, which would typically bring cooler and wetter conditions to the southern one-third of the United States.

"Models were indicating a potential El Nino into the late summer, but sea surface temperatures haven't cooperated," he said.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 11/26/2012
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