A La Niña Watch has been issued by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center with a 55 to 60 percent chance of a La Niña forming in the coming months.
What is La Niña? A La Niña is when the waters in the Equatorial Pacific are colder than normal. This is caused by stronger trade winds, bringing more cold water upwelling off of Baja California. This change in water temperature, effects the global climate and weather patterns.
How does this effect us? During a typical La Niña year, the Rio Grande Valley will see above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation. A La Niña also increases the chance of a more aggressive hurricane season. This due to less wind shear and a less stable atmospheric environment. With hurricane season already on a record pace for named storms in 2020, a La Niña could mean more trouble is ahead in the Atlantic.
It is important to remember, just because an La Niña typically brings these conditions, it doesn’t mean we will not see cold snaps and occasional storms this winter. It does mean the general global pattern is working against it.