NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) released its preliminary winter outlook for 2009-2010, and it's calling for milder than normal conditions over the Prairies for the upcoming winter. This is in response to the current El Nino that is expected to persist and possibly strengthen over the winter months. The first half of October has been well below normal due to a stubborn polar vortex over Hudson Bay that has maintained cold weather over much of the Prairies. There are hints that this pattern will relax over the next week or two allowing for more seasonal temperatures for the second half of October. The latest CPC 30 day outlook calls for milder than normal conditions over the Prairies through mid-November.
See the winter outlook from NWS Grand Forks for a more detailed discussion on the weather influences and trends expected for the Red River valley area this upcoming winter.