Forecasters have predicted for months we’d soon see a shift in our weather patterns from El Nino to La Nina — but now they’re abandoning the idea.
Dennis Todey, a climatologist and director of the USDA Midwest Climate Hub, says it appears the current trends will continue for a good while longer.
“The Climate Prediction Center of NOAA did pull out of their La Nina Watch last week, indicating they were not expecting major La Nina conditions to occur,” Todey says. “Things have been transitioning throughout the latter part of the summertime, indicating this was not going to be very long-lived or a very strong La Nina going on.”
A La Nina pattern means Pacific Ocean surface temperatures are cooling and can bring a cooler winter and a dry spring to the Midwest and Northern Plains regions.
Todey says the 90-day outlook shows the uncertainty of the changes in the Pacific.
“Weak chances for above-average temperatures over most of our region,” he says. “From a precipitation standpoint, really, this reflects the concern and their thought that they don’t have a good handle and the tools are not consistent in the way of below- or above-average precipitation.”
Todey says the forecast for the winter months — January, February and March — shows a fairly normal trend.
“From a temperature standpoint, they still keep a little bit of La Nina influence here with a slight chance for below-average conditions in the northern part of the country,” Todey says. “Much of our area east sees equal changes reflecting, there’s an expectation the northern jetstream is going to be fairly active but really not being able to be a good indication in the way of temperature.”
Todey says the same outlook for precipitation shows it to be about a 50-50 chance for normal snowfall.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton