Winter officially just started Sunday, but in northwest Iowa, it already feels like it's been a long one.
According to National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Fuhs, "I think it's safe to say that widespread, 15 to 20 inches of snow has fallen across Buena Vista County so far." Spencer leads the area with 26 inches for the season.
On average, the area only gets five to seven inches for the whole month of December. Storm Lake already has declared three snow emergencies with more than double the snow that the entire month saw in 2007.
Global warming hasn't been evident, either. Fuhs said Storm Lake has seen at least six days in the last 10 with temperatures well below zero. The NWS had predicted below average cold and above average snow. Fuhr says the report also predicts above normal snowfalls with near normal temps in January and above average snowfall with above normal temps in February.
He adds that the area may well see flurries through Christmas, but he doesn't expect much accumulation. Christmas Eve will be bitter cold with an arctic front moving in late Tuesday, but no snow is expected to slow Santa's arrival. Flurries may arrive Christmas afternoon.