As fall begins early indicators seem to suggest Iowa’s winter may not be extreme as last year’s, which included a polar vortex that contributed to record low temperatures.

A QC Times article reports, Jerry Schnoor, co-director of the University of Iowa’s Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, said the hope is that will mean a more normal winter in Iowa this year.

“Hopefully that (polar vortex) won’t happen this time,” Schnoor said. “Let’s hope that doesn’t play out again.”

Weather and climate experts also caution it is too early to forecast the Iowa winter with a high degree of certainty. Insert heavy sigh here.

One indicator that helps give experts some sense of Iowa’s winter-to-be is the prediction that there will not be an El Nino in the Pacific Ocean.

Last winter, an El Nino --- when surface water temperatures rise in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America --- caused a weakened jet stream --- a band of air currents that crosses the ocean --- which led to frigid temperatures across the Midwest. In January, Iowa experienced record low temperatures in the 30s below zero, with wind chills reaching the 50s below.

With early projections suggesting there will not be an El Nino this year, experts said the hope is there will be no repeat of the polar vortex.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center says there is an equal chance of above and below temperatures in Iowa for the months of December, January and February, and a slightly above average chance of higher than average precipitation during the same months.