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

Highly anticipated Beastie Boys memoir to be released this year
Highly anticipated Beastie Boys memoir to be released this year

A memoir written by the surviving members of the Beastie Boys is expected to be published this year.  Mike D, speaking in an interview with Matt Wilkinson, said the highly anticipated memoir will be unlike any other music book and should be available in the fall. “We’re actually going to finish it, and it’s going to come out...
Disney: Best time to visit theme park
Disney: Best time to visit theme park

Theme-parkgoers at Disney World are always trying to crack the code to see when it’s the best time to visit. Channel 9’s Jamie Holmes crunched the wait time numbers and learned the quieter times at the park are changing. Peter Pan has been flying over Neverland since Magic Kingdom opened in 1971. The wait time is still among the longest...
Children left in freezing car while mother talked to friends in mall, police say
Children left in freezing car while mother talked to friends in mall, police say

After getting calls about mothers leaving their kids in freezing temperatures, police are warning parents not to leave their children in their vehicles. A mother left her two young children in a car as she spoke with friends for more than 45 minutes, according to WXIN.  Indianapolis Metropolitan police officer Stephen Jones found an 11-year-old...
Blue Apron is now offering Whole30 meals
Blue Apron is now offering Whole30 meals

If you’re considering the Whole30 program in an effort to improve your health, Blue Apron wants to help. It’s now offering meals based on the diet plan.  The food kit delivery service has recently partnered with Whole30 experts to create eight weeks of approved recipes. The Whole30 is a 30-day diet plan that emphasizes whole foods...
Girl convicted of killing friend after Facebook selfie shows her wearing murder weapon 
Girl convicted of killing friend after Facebook selfie shows her wearing murder weapon 

A Facebook selfie with her best friend helped put a Canadian girl in prison after investigators spotted her in the photo wearing a belt she used later that night to kill the other teen. Cheyenne Rose Antoine, 21, of Saskatoon, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Monday in the March 25, 2015 strangulation death of Brittney Jane Gargol. She was sentenced...
More Stories