Winter could prove to be interesting this year for many in the United States, following the presence of La Niña conditions in August, according to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.
Per Reuters, the CPC states that La Niña conditions were present in the month of August, and there is a 75% chance they will continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter of 2020-2021. La Niña patterns, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), are characterized by below-average sea surface temperatures across the east-central Equatorial Pacific.
As a result, La Niña years tend to see warmer than normal winter temps in the Southeast and cooler than normal temps in the Northwest. As for snowfall amounts, the NOAA says that usually, La Niña favors “increased snowfall over the Northwest and northern Rockies, as well as in the upper Midwest Great Lakes region,” while “reduced snowfall is observed over parts of the central-southern Plains, Southwest and Mid-Atlantic.”
The last La Niña phenomenon emerged from September-November of 2017 and lasted through early 2018. In terms of snowfall, that meant that by the beginning of November, 8.3% of the continental United States had recorded snow on the ground, with the monthly snow cover peaking on Nov. 8, after an event extended that cover to 25.8 percent of the United States. The month ended with 9.2 percent of the US having snow on the ground.
Winter 2018 was also categorized by a Bomb Cyclone storm in the Northeast, which dumped over a foot of snow in New England and brought damaging winds and coastal flooding.
The news of a La Niña event and the weather it could bring could line up with the predictions made by the Farmers’ Almanac for the upcoming winter season. That predicted below-normal temperatures in the Midwest and Great Lakes, Central and Northern Plains and Rockies, with the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states getting hit by a blanket of snow by the second week of February which could total up to 2 feet of accumulation.