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NO, Chris Farley! It’s not El Niño time. The ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) is pointing to the other one this season… La Niña… and that means much of the northern United States is in for a cooler winter this go-around.
What’s Brewing Now?
La Niña is underway, with a 65-75% chance it will continue at least thru the 2017-18 winter. Similar to last winter, the event is predicted to be relatively weak. During a weak event, the typical U.S. impacts associated with La Niña are still possible, but they become less likely.
What To Expect
The reliable cycle that is ENSO swings El Niños and La Niñas in the Pacific all the time. That has a major impact on what type of weather many locations across the planet will have during a typical winter season and beyond. This winter… it’s time for our newest La Niña to swing away! Below is ‘snapshot’ of generally what you can expect during a La Niña winter.
La Nina… The Basics
La Niña (Spanish for “little girl”) is a natural ocean-atmospheric phenomenon marked by cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific near the equator, the opposite of El Niño (“little boy”).
Typical La Niña patterns during winter include above-average precipitation and colder-than-average temperatures along the northern U.S. and below-normal precipitation and drier conditions across the South. NOAA’s 2017 Winter Outlook shows that a weak La Niña was likely to develop.