It might be nice for Thanksgiving, but winter could be a rough one
GRAND FORKS—Wintry weather and colder temperatures could move into the region before a warm-up and dry weather starting Sunday and possibly holding into the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
However, a long-range forecast shows it could be a colder than normal and snowy winter.
The snow and rain mix this week is expected to be isolated, weather service meteorologist Brittany Peterson said Thursday.
"We do have some small chances for an isolated to scattered wintry mix for tomorrow and tomorrow night," she said. "The best chances for that would be south of Interstate 94, but there is some potential to see a light mix maybe as far as north and east of (Grand Forks). It's something worth keeping an eye on."
There is some concern for slippery conditions around the Red River Valley, though it is hard to predict which areas could be affected since the wintry mix is forecast to be scattered, Peterson said.
"Maybe give yourself a couple extra minutes for travel to be on the safe side," she said.
Expect temperatures to warm up again Sunday and Monday, as highs should reach into the mid- and high 30s and 40s in some areas of the region, according to the weather service.
The outlook is still unclear for Thanksgiving week, Peterson said, but models are favoring warmer-than-normal temperatures as most people head out mid-week for the holiday.
"We are looking for a fairly active weather pattern next week," she said, describing the potential for precipitation as on and off, "but there isn't a strong signal for a strong system to come through at this point."
About 50.9 million Americans are projected to travel at least 50 miles for Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year, according to a news release from AAA. It's important to keep an eye on the forecast for changes and updates as Thanksgiving approaches, Peterson said.
Meanwhile, the latest long-range weather outlook issued by the Climate Prediction Center isn't good news for those wishing for a mild winter for North Dakota. The outlook calls for an enhanced chance of colder than normal temperatures and the possibility of greater than average snowfall for the period December-February.
The main culprit is a lurking La Nina, a cooling of Pacific Ocean temperatures. The CPC recently upgraded a La Nina Watch to a La Nina Advisory. At this time La Nina conditions are considered weak and not likely to develop into a system that will have a great influence on North Dakota's winter, but still strong enough to put a damper on any hopes for a prolonged stretch of unusually nice weather in the months ahead.
In past years a strong La Nina would often lead to an abundance of miserable winter days on the Northern Plains. The good news is, this La Nina is not so strong based on statistical comparisons from 1981-2010.
Nevertheless, the December-February temperature outlooks favors "enhanced odds for below-normal temperatures" and "increased chances of above-normal precipitation" for much of the northern United States.
Minot Daily News contributed to this report