Justin Liles Makes His 2013-'14 Winter Prediction

Updated: 12/02/2013 11:56 AM
Created: 11/27/2013 10:46 PM
By: Justin Liles

You've may have heard in the news lately about how winter weather impacts Northland events such as the John Beargrease Sled Dog Race and the American Birkebeiner.  Both are at the mercy of Mother Nature. 

Former 2013 Beargrease Race Coordinator Pat Olson says, "Canceling the race two years ago, and then having to postpone it last year... really we took a beating to have to do that."

A race usually held in January was pushed to March last year. March is typically our snowiest month but last year it wound up being April. Over 50 inches of snow fell last year making it the snowiest April on record.

It was an odd year and an odd weather pattern. 

"A lot has to do with the inconsistency with the weather pattern. Do we know that if we plan a race starting now that we are going to have enough snow in January to have a race? We just don't know that for sure," said Olson. 

The Beargrease is again scheduled for the last weekend in January and it looks like we'll have enough snow for this year’s race. 

We're looking at another year with above average snowfall.  Snow also looks to continue into April.   

I'm going with 96 inches for Duluth and areas north of the Twin Ports.  

The South Shore and U.P. of Michigan will see above normal lake effect snow this winter too, at nearly 160 inches instead of the average 146.  Areas of west central Wisconsin and east central Minnesota will see about 80 inches. 

This bodes well for not only the Beargrease but also the Birkie. Randy Timmerman skied the race two years ago in ideal conditions. She says, "It's almost indescribable the feeling you get. If you've heard of Birkie fever, it's just absolutely amazing... being with this many people who love something  so much as skiing to come from all over the world to be here... it's great."

The days of shivering are back.  Repeated cold air has been present the last two months as our winter pattern has shown itself several times already. 

From December through April, I’m forecasting daytime highs and lows to be 2 to 4 degrees below average across the upper Midwest.  The times when you may wish you'd booked a flight south due to brutal cold are coming at the end of December and beginning of the New Year and again mid-February around Valentine’s Day. Temperatures will rebound some by March and another cooler spring can be expected.

Ice fisherman will see early ice, snowmobile fans should be able to get out by Christmas, and winter enthusiasts and businesses will once again head in to spring with a smile on their face.

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