La Niña ushers in season of extremes

Friday 22nd Oct 2010 by theWeather Club

Meteorologists have told our American cousins to brace themselves for a season of extremes over the next few months, as a strong La Nina current takes hold. The Northwest of the country will have a colder and wetter than average winter, while most of the South and Southeast will be hotter and drier than average. The warning is contained in the annual Winter Outlook released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Centre. The reason is a moderate to strong La Niña being the dominant climate factor influencing weather across most of the United States this winter

La Niña is associated with cooler than normal water temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, unlike the better known El Niño which is associated with warmer than normal water temperatures. Both of these climate phenomena, which typically occur every 2-5 years, influence weather patterns throughout the world and often lead to extreme weather events.

"La Niña is in place and will strengthen and persist through the winter months, giving us a better understanding of what to expect between December and February," said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center. "This is a good time for people to review the outlook and begin preparing for what winter may have in store."

Last year a strong El Nino brought record snow, rain and heat to different parts of the United States, and this year its opposite is set to do something similar. So if you're planning a trip across the pond this winter, it might be wise to plan for an extra bottle of sun cream or pair of wellies. It seems that the weather might be planning a little bit extra for you.