(KFVS) - The 2016 winter season officially kicks off soon, and we all remember the brutal cold and huge snows over the past five years.
Three times last winter, Heartland residents hunkered down as the temperature plunged well below zero.
An active weather pattern the year before dumped a foot of snow in Kentucky, shutting down a 40-mile stretch of I-24 for 14 hours.
We emerged later that winter with a snowfall total of 30 inches, when the Heartland usually sees 10 inches of snow each year.
Nothing says Christmas like a fresh snowpack but many have struggled for just a few snowflakes.
So what's going on with this weather?
Trade winds over the equatorial Pacific are a little stronger than most years and that has kept the water cool.
These weak La Niña conditions developed toward the end of summer and have persisted into winter.
Warmer than normal conditions are expected in the Heartland, though one or two cold spells could skew our perception of the upcoming winter.
We have an equal chance of above or below normal precipitation, as a weaker temperature contrast in the Pacific would, in turn, weaken the subtropical jet stream.
Please note, our seasonal outlook does not forecast where or when snow systems may hit or provide total snowfall amounts.
Snow forecasts are determined by the strength and track of storm systems, which are generally not predictable more than a week ahead of time.