What Will This Winter’s La Nina Bring To Snow Country?

In a La Nina year, the jet stream typically gets bent south, bringing cold air to southern Canada/nothern US. Credit: NOAA/NWS
In a La Nina year, the polar jet stream typically gets bent south, bringing cold air to southern Canada/northern US.
Credit: NOAA/NWS

El Nino, the inflow of warm water in the east/central tropical Pacific, has faded away.  The El Nino event which started in March 2015 and lasted until early 2016 was one of the warmest in the past 30 years.  You know the result: Lots of snow in the West, not so much in the East.

This year, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is reporting those warm waters off Peru have cooled off.  In fact, the June surface water temperature is even cooler than they were in May this year. So, in El Nino’s place comes La Nina.  She can cause as much mischief with the weather as her brother.

Briefly, La Nina causes the polar jet stream to move southward, bringing colder temperatures than normal to the northern US and most of Canada. On the other hand, temps are typically warmer in the Southwest and southern plains. As for precipitation, La Nina usually brings wet weather to the upper US and Canada and drier weather in a band that goes across the southern half of the US.

Ergo, cold temperatures plus wet weather equal more potential snow in the northern band (including New England, Hallelujah!) and not so much in the southern half.

Remember, this is a prediction and not a forecast.  Don’t book your vacation plans yet.

Stay tuned, we will be watching winter predictions as they develop.

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