The past few weeks have been a chilly reminder that winter can pack a punch to our part of the country. Snow, ice and wind have all hit the OPPD service territory with full-force this winter. And emergence of the polar vortex this week has brought dangerously cold conditions to much of the Midwest.
So far this year, the Omaha area has seen nearly a foot of snow, which is already double the average amount of snowfall for January, according to data from the National Weather Service (NWS).
Forecasters with DTN, which provides OPPD and other energy companies with weather forecasts, say this winter isn’t even close to calling it quits.
Computer models show temperatures through the beginning of February will be bone-chilling cold as the polar vortex remains over much of the northern plain states. The models show a brief return to normal temperatures before ending February on a very cold streak.
Nate Hamblin, a forecaster with DTN, said a central Pacific El Nino that will slowly weaken through the summer provides clues as to what is in store for the rest of winter. For the plains states, including Nebraska, that means normal to slightly higher-than-normal snow amounts for the rest of the winter. An average February snowfall for the Omaha area is just over 6 inches, according to the NWS.
Winter will linger into March and temps will be below normal, but it is unlikely there will be much severe weather, according to DTN computer models. March looks to be a drier-than-average month while April looks to be warmer and wetter.
So prepare for some dangerously cold conditions to remain in these next weeks, keep the shovels handy and the snow blowers gassed up. Spring is coming, but we will have to endure plenty of winter before that happens.