Riding skis in shorts on Christmas Day ... in Indiana? Impossible, right? Not likely, but if it ever could happen, this might be the year – at least if you believe in long-range forecasts.
There are no absolutes when it comes to weather. If you haven't learned that watching TV weather forecasts, you certainly should have following 90-day forecasts by ag climatologists. These forecasts get more accurate all the time, but there are no absolutes when it comes to weather.
All that said the National Climate Prediction Center says a very strong El Nino event should control the winter over the Great Plains and into the Midwest. The El Nino controls air circulation and storm track patterns aloft.
Normally when an intense El Nino settles in, the winter turns out to be milder than normal. Currently the forecast coming out of the Great Lakes Region prediction center calls for warmer than normal weather this winter. It also places a drier than normal pocket over the northern two-thirds of Indiana.
If this effect tends to trail off, it would be in extreme southern Indiana, where conditions may be more normal both for temperature and rainfall, Ken Scheeringa says. He is the associate ag climatologist in the Indiana State Climate office.
Ah, but weather forecasts love weasel words. Note very strong El Ninos in the past have usually produced a milder winter. There's actually record of an El Nino producing a harsher winter than usual. And just because the trend is warmer and drier than normal doesn't mean you can't get an outbreak of below zero weather or several inches of snow dumped in one storm.
So maybe if you're spending Christmas in Indiana and Florida, you might want to keep both your water skis and snow skis handy!
Weather is a game of odds, and the odds favor milder, drier weather for most of Indiana, especially in early winter, Scheeringa says.