Temperatures may have been mild so far in February, but don’t count winter out yet. That was the sentiment that came from a recent weather outlook from forecasters with DTN, which provides OPPD and other energy companies with weather forecasts.
The current winter has been neither El Nino or a La Nina, said Jeff Johnson, a DTN meteorologist. For much of the nation, including Nebraska, winter has been a milder affair. But that doesn’t mean it will stay that way.
The rest of the winter could be slightly colder than average and about normal for precipitation, said Nathan Hamblin, long-range team lead meteorologist with DTN. He said the rest of winter looks to be warmer than the last two winters, which were both unseasonably cold.
He said the central plains could still see above average snow falls yet this winter, which would mean a snowy end to February and beginning of March.
Of highest concern for the area is the potential for another round of spring flooding. How quickly the snowpack to the north and west melts will determine whether it occurs.
Hamblin said the soil is very saturated and rivers are full, which puts the area at risk.
“How fast the snow melts is key,” he said. “Quick warming events would mean higher run-off and increase the risk. It all depends on how the snowpack melts.”
OPPD’s 13-county service territory sits between major risk and moderate risk for flooding potential.
One positive note: The closer we get to the end of winter, the less likely we will experience a polar vortex. Those conditions can plunge the area into bitter cold for extended periods of time.