La Nina’s back. Here’s what it will do to your weather this winter


This week, weather officials announced that the  La Nina climate pattern has arrived.
If you are not sure how to react to that news, you are not alone.

Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday a weak La Nina has formed and is expected to stick around for several months.

La Nina is a natural cooling of parts of the Pacific, and the phenomenon is a major factor in weather around the world as we move into late fall, through winter and into spring.

Here’s what the return of La Nina means.

How is it formed?

According to National Geographic, La Nina is formed “by a build-up of cooler-than-normal waters in the tropical Pacific, the area of the Pacific Ocean between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Unusually strong, eastward-moving trade winds and ocean currents bring this cold water to the surface, a process known as “upwelling.”

What does “La Nina” mean?

  • La Nina means “the little girl”
  • La Nina’s full name is El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
  • It is the counterpart of El Nino – a pattern that warms waters in the Pacific

What happens in La Nina years?

  • During periods of La Nina, sea-surface temperatures across the equatorial eastern central Pacific Ocean will be lower by 3 to 5 degrees centigrade.
  • La Nina brings warmer-than-normal sea-surface temperatures to the southern Pacific Ocean around northern Australia, New Guinea and the islands of Indonesia.
  • The pattern generally lasts around five months.
  • La Nina causes above-average precipitation across the northern Midwest, the northern Rockies, Northern California, and the southern and eastern parts of the Pacific Northwest.
  • It will be dryer in the Southwest and Southeast.
  • It triggers stronger-than-average hurricanes in the Atlantic and fewer hurricanes in the Pacific.
  • The Southeast and Mid-Atlantic will see warmer-than-average temperatures during a La Nina winter.
  • In Canada, La Nina brings more cold and more snow.
  • This is the second consecutive La Nina winter.
  • Last year's episode lasted only from November to February which was unusual.
  • Texas A&M University agricultural economist Bruce McCarl told USA Today that La Nina years are often bad for agriculture in Texas. The same goes for other parts of the United States during a La Nina year.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Musicians pay tribute to young rapper Lil Peep after his tragic death
Musicians pay tribute to young rapper Lil Peep after his tragic death

New York SoundCloud rapper Lil Peep — whose real name was Gustav Åhr — passed away on Wednesday at the age of 21. He was reportedly found in an unresponsive state by his manager on his tour bus, according to The Guardian. In a video posted on Instagram just a few hours before his death, he said he had consumed...
Serena Williams shares wedding photos in new interview
Serena Williams shares wedding photos in new interview

Tennis icon Serena Williams married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in New Orleans Thursday, and gave the first official photos to Vogue magazine to share. The ceremony was in front of 200 guests made up of family and friends -- Venus Williams, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian Anna Wintour, Ciara and the newlyweds’ 2-month-old daughter Alexis Olympia...
Tim McGraw weighs in on Blake Shelton’s new ‘sexy’ title
Tim McGraw weighs in on Blake Shelton’s new ‘sexy’ title

You can tell from Blake Shelton’s reaction to winning People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” honors that the award is one to be taken lightly. The tall and talented Okie has been appreciative yet modest about the recognition and, at times, he’s even self-deprecating. But his good friends, including Tim McGraw, have got his back...
Expert details how to best handle an active shooter situation
Expert details how to best handle an active shooter situation

Mass shootings have been becoming more common in America, with one happening nearly every week. But have you considered what to do if you're in a dangerous situation with someone opening fire and attacking you?  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a video recommending "run, hide, fight" for active shooter situations. WPXI...
Serena Williams marries Alexis Ohanian in New Orleans, reveals wedding dress
Serena Williams marries Alexis Ohanian in New Orleans, reveals wedding dress

Serena Williams is officially a married woman, according to reports. People reported that the tennis legend and her fiance, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, were married Thursday in New Orleans. Reports bubbled this week that the pair was getting married at the Contemporary Arts Center.  E! News reported that the nuptials came two years...
More Stories