Winters Of The Future: What Will They Bring?

By KBJR News 1

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 11:47 AM CDT

This week our weather team has been telling you about past winters, and possible climate changes in the Northland...

Karl Spring wraps it all up with a look into what our winters might be like... in the future.

The tricky thing about forecasting the weather is that it's all about things that haven't happened yet.

"Marty, why is everything so heavy in the future? Is there something wrong with the Earth's gravitational field?"

Especially looking at future winters. I'm just trying to get tomorrow right.

[ Weather man talking from Anchorman ]

And even if you get the forecast right, you can never please everybody.

"What kind of winter do you want to have? A bunch of it...no more rain, SNOW!"

"I don't want a lot of snow, because I don't like driving in it. But I also want it warm and mild."

So guessing what the winters of the future are going to be like is a real shot in the dark.

But, it helps to look backwards.

"Just a few years ago, in recent memory, we had 135 inches of snow. That's a heck of a lot of snow, and that was a record for snowfall!"

That winter of 1995-96 set an all-time record for snowfall in Duluth, and 5 of the top 10 snows on record in Duluth have all taken place since 1988, with 4 of the top 10 in the last 14 years.

That's good news for the Northland.

After a year and a half drought and being down 8 inches of rainfall earlier this year, the recent rains have really helped the groundwater level.

And if we get an extra snowy winter, that would help even more.

"I'd like a little more snow than we had last year."

Normal snowfall in Duluth is about 80 inches.

Helped by the March blizzard, we actually came close to that last year, and were above it two years ago.

But this year, something is brewing.

"La Nina is strengthening."

La Nina is the cooling of ocean waters off the west coast of South America.

"We have looked in the past and noted that when we have moderate to strong La Nina's, we have had above normal snowfall."

"Snow, lots of snow for skiing and snowball fights. Otherwise, Duluth is just cold!"

Records show that winter temps across the region have been rising the last two decades.

So, does that mean we need to get used to wimpy winters?

"No, winter has not lost its teeth. It's still going to be winter in the Northland, and it's going to be cold. It's going to be snowy."

"Lotta snow!"

There are very extended forecasts that show temperature and precipitation predictions for up to two years into the future, but.....

"Long range models have their use and we look at them. But, like you said, I wouldn't plan an outdoor event based on the long range models."

"I want whatever the Good Lord gives us."
Husband responds: "I don't want ANY snow." "No snow?" "No."

Nobody knows what this winter or the next 5-10 will be like.

But we all know that a lot of snow is good for the local economy.

So, for that reason, I say...let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

In Duluth, meteorologist Karl Spring, the Northlands Newscenter.