The weather pattern in November has been quiet and mild, for the most part. There have been some nights with temperatures low enough to kill plants, but that's expected for November. There has yet to be a very cold outbreak, or more than snow flurries, except in the Snow Belt fed by Lake Michigan in extreme northern Indiana.
Ken Scheeringa, associate state climatologist in Indiana, says that slightly longer-term forecasts indicate that pattern will change as the calendar moves into December this week. The forecast ahead calls for a return to more winter-like weather in early December. That should include colder temperatures and a chance for snow in some parts of the state.
This would fit with the pattern Scheeringa outlined several weeks ago for the Indiana winter. The national Weather Service is saying equal chances for above normal, normal, and below normal precipitation and temperatures for at least early and mid-winter. Scheeringa notes that is not the same as forecasting a normal winter. It means that the trend could go one direction or the other and stay there for a while.
In Scheeringa's terms, that means it could be an up and down winter in Indiana, with periods of colder than normal weather with more precipitation than normal, than warmer than normal weather and drier periods included.
One cause of this lack of direction for the winter is that the El Nino/La Nina cycle is in a very weak to disappearing El Nino phase in the tropical Pacific Ocean. This refers to warming and cooling of sea surface temperatures which affect barometric pressure and air circulation patterns aloft. The El Nino which started to form has all but disappeared. The National Weather Service does not expect an El Nino winter.
Other factors will impact Indiana weather this winter, including the Arctic Oscillation Index. However, it is a much shorter cycle than the El Nino pattern, and is much tougher to predict which way it will go very far in advance.
Scheeringa's best advice is to have your heavy coat and snow shovel ready for December. Make sure the diesel tractor is plugged in and hooked to the snow plow. Then stay tuned for further word.