Meteorologists and climatologists have been saying for the past few weeks that Nebraska and Iowa could be in for a roller coaster of a winter, as warm and cold air masses jockey for dominance.
Certainly that's been the case this autumn.
The National Climate Prediction Center issued its winter forecast Thursday for the United States.
The Midlands, it says, has as much of a chance of an average winter as it does for one that is unusually cold or warm, snowy or dry.
In some years, forecasters have an early inkling on how winter is likely to be.
That greater confidence in the forecast happens when the water temperature in the equatorial Pacific Ocean is atypically warm or cold. The Pacific (and other oceans) exerts a powerful long-term influence on climate.
So far this year, the Pacific is showing little signs of trending distinctly one way or the other. As a result, there's no heavy hand that aids in long-term forecasting.
Forecasters are making projections for some areas of the country. The southern United States could be warmer and drier than normal, and pockets of the north could be wetter and colder than normal.
Current conditions and forecast