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Are we heading for a La Niña 'Triple Dip'?

A rare third winter in a row with La Niña conditions is looking likely. Meteorologist Michael Behrens explains how that could impact West Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The past two winters in West Michigan have been controlled in part by La Niña conditions in the southern Pacific ocean and that is not looking to change any time soon. 

In fact a rare forecast is now in place, the Climate Prediction Center and the World Meteorological Organization both think a third winter in a row is likely to maintain this La Niña pattern. This has only previously happened about 3 times since 1950.

What this means is our winter forecast could again be controlled by these global scale weather patterns. 

What Is A La Niña Pattern?

A La Niña pattern happens when trade winds south of the equator blow more strongly causing cooler water to upwell along the coast of South America and spread out into the southern Pacific. This pattern results in long reaching impacts that change our weather here in North America.

In a La Niña winter West Michigan can expect to see wetter than average conditions, with equal chances for above or below normal temperatures. Of course if we trend toward the colder side of things, this means we are going to be looking at the potential for a snowier winter as well. 

Credit: WZZM
The impacts of La Niña on the weather in the United States.

Currently the Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an 86% chance for La Niña to continue through the fall, with a 60% chance of it continuing through Winter. As a result of this their forecast for us here in West Michigan falls pretty much inline with the traditional impacts of La Niña. 

You can see the precipitation and temperature outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center below. 

Credit: Climate Prediction Center
The Climate Prediction Center winter precipitation outlook for 2022-23.
Credit: Climate Prediction Center
The Climate Prediction Center winter temperature outlook for 2022-23.

Of course we have only just started fall and are still several months away from the beginning of winter, so there is still room for things to change. The 13 On Your Side Weather Team will bring you a much more detailed look into our winter forecast as we head into November!

-- Meteorologist Michael Behrens

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Email me at: MBehrens@13OnYourSide.com

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