Are you already panicking about the winter season ahead? You are not alone. We've already seen our first accumulating snowfall (of many) in the Northland and it's only October.

That got me thinking: does an early start to winter mean we are in for an unusually brutal winter season? Thankfully, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources had the same thought and are clearing a few things up.

According to a recent press release put out by the MN DNR, the answer is simple: no. They report that snow falling during the month of October is nothing to look into and has nothing to do with the rest of winter. Therefore, you can breathe a little sigh of relief. The MN DNR says that even "a persistently snowy autumn cannot promise us a brutal remainder of winter."

There you have it. An "early" snowfall in the Northland does not mean that we are in for a long and terrible winter. It just so happens that we live in Northern Minnesota, where cold reigns and snow before the official start to winter is completely normal. Sigh.

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With that said, we still may see a rough winter ahead. This has nothing to do with the fact that it is already snowing in the Northland but rather the fact that it will likely be a La Niña winter. For Northland residents, this means we will likely see more snowstorms and in turn, more snowfall and precipitation in the area. It also means that we will likely see more cold snaps than we are used to.