Warmer for winter, too?

Forecasters: El Nino may make for milder cold season

DONNA JAFOLLA WATERS her flower garden on Hemlock Street in Iron Mountain. For the past four years, Jafolla has been working on the perennial garden that now includes 40 different kinds of blooming plants, such as roses, mums, hydrangeas, irises, bee balm, dead nettle, astrid and dahlias. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Perhaps the leaves should turn before discussing January weather, but at least the outlook isn’t bitter.

An El Nino weather pattern appears to be developing, suggesting a warmer-than-normal winter for the Upper Peninsula.

Fall temperatures may also range higher than normal, according to the Climate Prediction Center. The chances for El Nino are about 65 percent for fall, increasing to about 70 percent during winter, the CPC said.

El Nino, a natural warming of the central Pacific, typically is linked to higher temperatures in the Great Lakes region.

The CPC’s forecast through the end of October calls for a 40 percent chance of above-normal temperatures and 27 percent for below normal. For the winter months, those odds increase to 50 percent for above normal and just 17 percent for below normal.

Meanwhile, precipitation patterns are expected to be near normal in the Upper Peninsula. Much of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest may see back-and-forth periods of wet and dry weather this fall, said Paul Pastelok, long-range forecaster for AccuWeather.com.

Temperatures during July averaged 70.4 degrees at Iron Mountain-Kingsford, which was 1.5 degrees above the average since 2000. Rainfall measured 2.49 inches, which was 0.39 inches below normal.

The hottest day last month was July 1, with a reading of 95 degrees. The coldest was 48 degrees on July 18 and 28.

The U.S. Drought monitor shows no areas of concern in the Upper Peninsula but does show abnormally dry conditions in northeastern Wisconsin, including Florence and Marinette counties. Nearly all of Lower Michigan and the far eastern Upper Peninsula have moderate drought or abnormally dry conditions.