WeatherWeather Science


Winter weather outlook showing the influence of La Niña

Posted at 1:49 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 20:28:45-05

La Nina continues to strengthen as eastern Pacific waters cooled during the month of October, according to data from NOAA.

This pattern is expected to last through winter and long-range weather forecasts show the influence of the current La Nina.

A typical pattern for La Nina brings warmer and drier conditions in the southern U.S. and cooler, wetter conditions in the north.

As a disclaimer, the ENSO status (La Nina or El Nino) is only one of many driving forces to global weather patterns, so all years look a bit different.

With that being said, current forecast modeling for November through January shows a close trend towards the "typical" La Nina pattern.

There is a 40-60% probability of above-average temperatures in the southern two-thirds of the U.S. through winter.

90 Day Temperature Probability Compared to Average

The precipitation outlook indicates a greater probability of drier conditions in the south and wetter conditions north.

90 Day Precipitation Probability Compared to Average

For Colorado, La Nina and El Nino years can be more subtle, and unnoticeable on a daily basis. This winter we are likely to see less frequent snowstorms or underperforming snow totals. Monthly temperatures are likely to be above average.

A winter like this is expected to maintain or worsen drought in the state.