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Meteorologist: Indiana Winters Remain Unpredictable, Even With El Niño

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A Purdue University meteorology professor says El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean won’t necessarily lead to a warmer, dryer winter in Indiana.

Jill Coleman says that isn't to say Indiana won’t see warmer temperatures and less snow, but she notes Indiana is hard to forecast because it is affected by conditions from both ends of the country.

“We’re really impacted by weather that’s not only coming in from the Pacific, but also conditions that are going out in Atlantic,” says Coleman. “So that’s why it gets very tricky doing kind of long term conditions out in our region because we are influenced by two different areas of the world.”

She says Indiana's winter weather is dictated by patterns associated with El Nino and the Pacific-North American pattern, which tends to bring high pressure fronts down from Canada.

“Do we get storms that are coming out of the Ohio River valley and kind of shooting, you know, from Southwest to Northeast?” says Coleman. “Or is the storm tracks coming more from Canada and coming from across the great lakes? That’s why, you know, being out in the Midwest is always an interesting time because, you know, you never know what you’ll get.”

Coleman says this winter will not be unlike those of years past, with unpredictable and sometimes severe outbreaks of snow and cold.

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