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Weather Talk: Record cold start to October might not signify a brutal winter

The first 15 days of October delivered an average daily mean temperature of 38.3 degrees, the coldest first 15 days of October on record (back to 1881). You may recall a similar cold snap this spring. The period of April 1-15 was the second coldest such period on record with an average daily mean of 22.9 degrees. Only the first 15 days of April in 1881 had been colder.

Now the good news.

Despite a record cold snap in early April, the remainder of last spring was pleasantly warmer than average. For that matter, except for about three weeks after Christmas, most of last winter was not particularly cold. There is no reason to think that the cold and snowy start to October is a sign that our upcoming winter will be a hard one. In fact, a developing El Nino weather pattern increases the odds of a rather mild winter season.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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