Chicago could see milder winter

November 2, 2009 (CHICAGO) While today's sunshine and mild temperatures are a welcome relief from the rainy and chilly weather of October, the question on a lot of minds is how severe will this winter be.

The last two winters have produced well above normal snowfall and colder than normal temperatures but there are indications that this winter will be different thanks to what's going on in the Pacific Ocean.

"The winter forecast is largely driven by the evolution of the El Nino and the El Nino southern oscillation which is a warming of the waters in the eastern part of the Pacific," said Eric Lenning, National Weather Service.

The official forecast from the Climate Prediction Center is calling for above normal temperatures across much of the Northern and Central Plains especially just west of our area with below normal temperatures across the Deep South. But even if this forecast is accurate it doesn't mean we won't be dealing with harsh winter weather.

"The most important thing to remember is that even though the seasonal forecast play call for one thing, we may still see a whopper or two of a snowstorm here and there. Don't think we're out of the woods in terms of winter weather," said Lenning.

Right now a moderately strong El Nino is expected but even a small change in the strength of El Nino can have significant impacts on our winter weather. So, while the official forecast is hinting at slightly milder than normal winter, keep in mind, there's a lot of uncertainty in the forecast and during some of the mildest winters, we can also get some of our biggest snows.

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