NOAA forecasters in the US have released their outlook for the upcoming 2008-09 winter. Their outlook indicates more variability in the weather this winter, with no clear signal for warmer or colder conditions this winter over much of the US. Data suggests only the Mississippi Valley having slightly better odds of a warmer than normal winter. Elsewhere, including the northern Plains, there is not enough predictive correlations to say what kind of winter to expect this year. This is due to the absence of an El Nino or La Nina this year in the Pacific, which historically provide better skill in predicting winter temperature and precipitation patterns, especially in the western US. As a result.. other climatic patterns will influence our winter this year, including the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and North American oscillation (NAO), although these patterns are harder to predict long term, and have less predictive skill to our overall winter than the Pacific ocean patterns. All we can say this year for the upcoming winter in Manitoba is "We'll have to wait and see". Environment Canada will release their 3 month winter outlook for Canada on Dec 1st.
UPDATE: (Nov 27): The NWS office in Grand Forks has released their own local winter outlook for North Dakota based on climatological patterns for the Northern Plains. Their prediction calls for a generally colder than normal winter for the Red River valley, with above average snowfall. Overall, they expect a lot of variability this winter (i.e. roller coaster pattern) with a couple of distinct cold periods.. one from early to mid December, and another from late January to mid February. They also point to a cooler than normal spring.