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Cooler Winter Predicted—or Maybe Not

Early predictions for Kentucky’s winter weather hit a glitch when conditions changed in the Pacific Ocean near the equator. Cool water currents (La Nina) there typically produce colder, wetter winters in our area, while warm currents (El Nino) usually mean warmer, dryer winters. When a developing El Nino event stalled in October, forecasters said the situation was too close to call. They gave equal chances to both a cold, wet winter and a warm, dry winter. As Pacific Ocean conditions reach their seasonal peak this month, forecasters hope to settle the coin toss. An early trend shows a return to normal temperature ranges here compared to last year’s unusually mild winter. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s outlook predicts an increase in “heating degree days” and higher energy bills this winter.

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