DENVER(CBS)- We are now on “La Nina Watch” for the next 6 months! NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is the branch of the National Weather Service that keeps track of such things and on Thursday released its monthly report on conditions for El Nino and La Nina. The CPC has issued a “LA NINA WATCH” for the upcoming Winter season. NOAA’s CPC says there’s a 70% chance of La Nina returning between November 2021 and January 2022.
Currently, we are in what is called a neutral state. No La Nina or El Nino (which is the warming of the ocean water). The new report predicts a La Nina start up between now and October.
A La Nina Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for the development of La Niña conditions within the next six months. La Nina is the cooling of the ocean water off the coast of South and Central America. Weather patterns in the United States can be effected by the strength of these cooling currents.
In a typical La Nina year the pattern can lead to lots of rain across northern California and the Pacific Northwest. This would be great for the drought and fire danger in those areas.
Unfortunately, it also means drier conditions from southern California across the southern half of the nation. For Colorado and the central Rocky Mountains a La Nina year can mean several visits from a north to south jet stream that could make for a windy winter along with several shots of cold Arctic air blasting across the Rockies and the Great Plains.
As far as snow goes most of the state on average has a below normal snowfall by the end of the season. So to put it in a nutshell Colorado may be looking at a cold winter with below normal snowfall.
That being said all of this is expectations of an average La Nina year. But, if you remember last winter we were in a La Nina year and many areas of the Front Range had record amounts of snowfall.