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Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

La Niña conditions could signal a snowy Chicago winter

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

Last winter, meteorologists predicted that as much as 50 inches of snow would fall on Chicago—we ended up with just 18.3 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Now a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association is claiming that the Midwest is in for a cooler and wetter winter than usual.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center estimates that La Niña conditions, which typically bring cooler air and increased precipitation to the Midwest, have a 55–65 percent chance of developing this winter. The report acknowledges that La Niña conditions will likely be "weak and potentially short-lived," but even a brief deluge of snow in December or January would be a dramatic change from last year's extremely sparse snowfall.

There's no need to stock up on sidewalk salt and hand warmers yet—meteorologists have repeatedly demonstrated that it's extremely difficult to accurately predict Chicago's fickle winter weather.

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