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John Wheeler: The Dakotas are having a cold winter, but not the rest of the US

Much of the rest of the country has been experiencing much warmer than average conditions so far this winter.

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FARGO — Much of our region is having a cold winter. Many parts of the Dakotas were hit by heavy snow in November and then a couple of times in December. Arctic air brought some extreme cold for mid-to-late December, and then the lingering cooling effect of substantial snow cover has kept the weather colder than average, even as the pattern has grown milder.

However, much of the rest of the country has been experiencing much warmer than average conditions so far this winter. The area surrounding the Great Lakes down through the central and eastern parts of the Midwest have been consistently mild and mostly snow-free. The warmest anomaly has been across New England and the Northeast, where there has hardly been any cold weather at all. Buffalo, New York, which experienced massive snowstorms in November and again right before Christmas, has no snow on the ground because of weather consistently in the 40s and 50s most of the winter.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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The U.S. Drought Monitor has most of the Dakotas and Minnesota in a state ranging from "abnormally dry" to "moderate drought."
Such a forecast would be nearly impossible because wind over land is much more turbulent than wind over water.
WDAY's StormTRACKER meteorologists are tracking the storm. Check back for updates.
Winds gust beyond 40 mph throughout the region. Although the storm was downgraded overnight from a blizzard to a winter advisory, Herald names the storm Blizzard Caitlin.