Ask Storm Team 11: How does La Nina affect the weather?

Ask Storm Team 11

Tuesday’s Ask Storm Team 11 question comes from Ben Spangler. He asked: “How does La Nina affect the weather?”

La Nina is characterized by a long period of cooler than average water temperatures near the equator in the eastern Pacific. Strong winds blow the warmer water toward the west. In turn, this can affect the weather all around the world.

According to NOAA, La Nina conditions have developed and are expected to persist for the next several months.

When it comes to the Atlantic hurricane season, La Nina usually creates a more favorable environment in the Atlantic, including reduced wind shear, allowing more tropical storms and hurricanes to form. We’ve certainly seen that in recent weeks.

On land, there are usually noticeable effects as we approach winter. Typically, warmer than average temperatures are found in the southern half of the U.S. with wetter than average conditions in the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys.

That could mean a warmer and wetter winter than usual for us, which isn’t the best news for snow lovers.

Of course, there are many other variables that can affect winter weather locally and nationally.

There have been 7 winter seasons when La Nina was present since the 2005-2006 season. All but one season turned out below the seasonal snowfall average of 10.5 inches in the Tri-Cities.

Again, that’s one piece of the puzzle we’ll be looking at for the upcoming winter as a whole. 

Have a question for Storm Team 11? Click here to submit!

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