Snowfall in October and a big cool-down on Sunday – these previews of winter might have many Nebraskans wondering about what the winter months have in store for them.
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Hastings say this year it looks like a fairly normal winter is on the way. Last year's winter was relatively mild, with about a 15 inch deficit for snowfall and warmer than average temperatures.
This year's forecast is a bit tricky to pin down, but nonetheless, normal predictions are being made.
"The challenge with this year's forecast or the outlook this year is there's really not a strong indicator such as a la nina or el nino to help focus the forecast," said NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Mike Moritz.
"I think people can expect what we would normally anticipate for winter in this part of the country," said Moritz.
Normal for the winter season in Nebraska is about 30 inches of snowfall and cold temperatures through about March. After March, temperatures will begin to rise again.
Moritz also said that temperatures could be a few degrees warmer than normal but not to the extent that they were last winter.
This means that people need to be aware of what the winter warnings issued by the NWS mean and have their homes prepared to weather a storm.
"A lot of times it's before the storm that you need to prepare," said Moritz. "That's the time when you can understand the forecast, understand the hazards – that's the time when you can prepare your home, your car and get the things you would need to outlast a winter storm."
People should make sure they have emergency supplies on hand in their homes and cars. Extra batteries, food and water and a way to stay warm in case of a power outage are all necessities for winter storm preparation.
More information on winter warnings, winter illness/injury and winter storm preparation can be found online at http://www.nebraska.tv/category/114778/winter-weather-awareness.