Climate Prediction Center issues a “La Nina Watch” for the fall/winter seasons

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La Nina’s impact on the U.S. winter weather

The NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has issued a “La Nina Watch,” which means conditions are favorable for La Nina to develop within the next six months.

So what does that mean in everyday terms?

According to the CPC, a La Nina occurs when one-month negative sea surface temperature anomalies drop to -0.5 degrees Celsius (or less) within a portion of the equatorial Pacific Ocean that is located at 5oN-5oS, 120oW-170oW.

The abnormally cool ocean waters can impact the atmosphere immediately above it. As a result, the weather changes not just in that location, but even a hemisphere away; these connections that occur far away are known as teleconnections.

In the Southeast, La Nina conditions contribute to a warmer and drier winter. However, just because a La Nina sets up does not mean that the entire season would be observing that trend. In January 2011 (a La Nina winter), a snowstorm moved through Alabama and Georgia that dropped 5-10 inches of snow.