La Niña is expected this winter. What will that mean for our weather?

La Niña, the cooler sibling of El Niño, is likely to form over the next few months, federal government forecasters said Thursday. 

Specifically, there's a 55 to 65% chance that a La Niña will develop during the fall and winter of 2017-18, the Climate Prediction Center said. 

The La Niña climate pattern — a natural cycle marked by cooler-than-average ocean water in the central Pacific Ocean — is one of the main drivers of weather in the U.S. and around the world, especially during the late fall, winter and early spring.

A typical La Niña winter in the U.S. brings cold and snow to the Northwest and unusually dry conditions to most of the southern tier of the U.S., according to the prediction center. The Southeast and Mid-Atlantic also tend to see warmer-than-average temperatures during a La Niña winter. 

However, the Upper Midwest into New York and New England tend to see colder-than-average temperatures, the Weather Channel said

Globally, La Niña often brings heavy rainfall to Indonesia, the Philippines, northern Australia and southern Africa.

The prediction center said we are now under a "La Niña watch," which means the pattern is likely to form within the next few months.

The entire natural climate cycle is officially known as the El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a see-saw dance of warmer and cooler seawater in the Pacific Ocean.

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© 2017 USA TODAY


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