You've probably heard the predictions of a brutal winter ahead.
Don't put too much money on it.
At least three other sources, including the National Weather Service, say it probably will be a colder than normal winter, but overall not that bad.
In fact, according to meteorologist Chris Miller of the National Weather Service office in Lincoln, it probably won't be as bad as last winter.
Last winter (December through February) was colder and snowier than normal. Temperatures were below normal all three months, and snowfall during the period totaled nearly 41 inches, more than twice the normal amount.
December alone had 20.4 inches of snow, making it the snowiest December on record in Champaign-Urbana.
"In fact, the overall weather pattern that we saw last winter is very similar to the one we have now," Miller said. "Maybe not quite as bad because it's not as strong as what we had at this point last year. But I think it's fair to say we'll have a similar winter, but not as bad as what we had last year with the temperatures and the amount of precipitation."
Jim Angel, state climatologist at the Illinois State Water Survey, noted that about a month ago the winter forecast "was a lot more dire. The thinking was that we were going to get into another strong La Nina event (with cooler-than-normal water temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean). But now they're thinking that the La Nina won't be as strong, and it may be a weak-to-moderate event.
"They're kind of backpedaling from those earlier, more dire forecasts."
Central Illinois now is "right on the margin" of predicted warmer than normal winter weather, Angel said.
"Our chances are now about even-steven as far as being too warm or too cold," he said.
"But there is still a forecast of above-average precipitation."
Weather Services International, the parent company of The Weather Channel, also sees a slightly colder-than-average winter ahead.
"So far, November has been fairly mild across the major energy demand centers of the U.S. While no short-term change to this pattern is expected, we do foresee a trend toward colder temperatures across much of the northern U.S., including the Midwest and Northeast in December," said WSI meteorologist Todd Crawford.
"For the December-February aggregate period, we still feel that slightly below-normal temperatures will occur north of a Denver-Philadelphia line."
Those forecasts are at odds with one from AccuWeather.com, which predicts "a brutal winter" for the Midwest.
Colder blasts of winter will begin in late December, it said, with above-average snowfalls throughout the Midwest, including Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit and Cleveland.
Miller isn't buying it.
"It's really difficult to do that with any level of accuracy this far out, to say that this particular city or this particular area is going to have the worst winter ever," he said.
Miller said the winter weather pattern began to establish itself in November with above-average precipitation for the first time in six months.
"The weather pattern looks like it's already established itself for the winter. We can expect to see temperatures that are fluctuating quite a bit, as in the last month or so," he said.
"In November we had some warm days and then a front would come through and temperatures drop down for a few days and then go back up again," he said.
"That's kind of what we're looking at for the winter. When you average it all out together, there's a higher probability that the averages are going to trend toward colder than normal."
Thursday was the beginning of meteorological winter, and local temperatures were almost right at the normal Dec. 1 high of 43 degrees and the low of 28 degrees.