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Some A-1 first class weather around the Midwest this weekend. I was able to enjoy some of it at the Cedar Rapids Farmer's market Saturday morning, an event that draws thousands of people. Here's a picture of the weather team at the market including Rebecca Kopelman (RK), Nimbus Robert Swails (AKA-the weather dog), and me, the ugly one.

Several people asked me about the extreme weather we've been having since winter, wondering what it might mean for the upcoming winter. I'll be the first to admit I don't have a clear picture (especially this early) but there are a few hints that are starting to surface.

One is the global sea surface temperatures, notice the central western Pacific how temperatures are trending above normal near the equator.

The warmest water is in the eastern Pacific. When this occurs it signifies a Modoki El Nino.

Forecasts are for the Modoki El Nino to remain intact through winter. However, the mean forecast shows it reaching only .5 above the base line indicating it's weak in strength.

Here's the forecast winter temperatures December-February based on this premise.

Along with the Modoki we also know that we are at a solar minimum. We have a long way to go in the year but at this point 2018 has the lowest numbers on record for spotless days since 1849. With only 96 through July 6th we are likely to end the year close to 1911 totals.

That winter a weak Modoki occurred. The combination of spotless days and the Modoki produced a very cold winter with temperature anomalies that looked like this. Well below normal over the Midwest.

While I can't say how other factors will influence the coming winter, I can say there are 2 key players that are pointing toward a cold winter overall. Better go chop some wood! Roll weather...TS

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