Winter Weather Handbook: La Nina

Winter Weather Handbook

EYEWITNESS WEATHER (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — There are a lot of factors we’ll be taking into account when preparing this year’s winter forecast, and it looks like one of the big factors for us this year is something called La Nina.

What exactly is happening? Well translated from Spanish, it’s translated as a little girl and is defined by cooler than average sea surface temperatures that are along and in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean, La Nina is actually already happening right now.

And that process is expected to continue right through the winter months. And that’s going to have impacts here this Winter. But how exactly is La Nina formed? Well we have these easterly trade winds and when they’re pretty strong moving from east to west across the Pacific.

They take that warmer surface water, move it toward Asia. What that allows is that colder water below the surface to begin to upwelling when it does that now we have colder surface temperatures in the Eastern and Central Pacific Ocean.

Believe it or not, a simple change, just like that has impacts on our winter not just here in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania, but around the entire country.

So there is that colder water, we get an area of high pressure developing just south of Canada, strong, blocking high is what we call that lift the jet stream north, but in the continental U.S. that jet stream makes nice south, that’s going to have big impacts all across the country.

In the north, a colder than average winter in the southern U.S., it would mean a warmer than average winter and this also includes our area as well.

It also means a wetter than average winter because as storm systems develop in the northwest, they ride right along that jet stream and move right into our area. La Nina is going to be a big player over the next couple of months and definitely something with a close eye out for. 

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