(NEXSTAR) – La Niña has been with us all year, and it’s not showing any sign of leaving soon.
The climate pattern is favored to continue through the summer, according to an updated outlook released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. There’s a 59% chance will stick around through August, and the odds are about even that it will continue past August into the fall (NOAA is giving it a 50-55% chance right now).
La Niña – and its opposite, El Niño – are characterized by the temperature of the Pacific Ocean. But they have major impacts on the weather we experience on land.
La Niña typically brings drier conditions to the southern half of the country and more precipitation to pockets of the northern half. Drought conditions often worsen, and that looks to be the case for most of the West this summer. The only exception is southern Arizona, which may see an active monsoon season.
This summer, NOAA is also forecasting above-average rainfall for Florida and for the area surrounding the Ohio Valley, including Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and more (see maps below).
La Niña winters are usually warmer in the South and cooler in the Northern states. When it comes to the summer, NOAA is predicting a hot one for just about everyone. The three-month outlook shows warm weather for all states except the Great Lakes region.
The hottest temperatures are predicted out West, in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.
La Niña also has an impact on hurricane season. It typically weakens storms originating in the Pacific, but leads to stronger hurricanes in the Atlantic.
How could La Niña impact the Lowcountry this summer?
“When La Niña extends into the summer, it typically means we will see a more active tropical / hurricane season. In this cycle, the subtropical Jet Stream is weakened and pushed further north,” explained Storm Team 2 Meteorologist Olivia Lawrence.
While this means that warmer temperatures are likely, it also means that upper-level stability is reduced – two very important ingredients for tropical storm/hurricane formation.
“We typically see that La Niña also causes vertical wind shear to be reduced and vertical wind shear is what brings Atlantic hurricane season to an end. Therefore, the formation of tropical storms and potential hurricanes becomes more likely and will last later into the year.”
Hurricane season doesn’t usually peak until late summer, but meteorologists are already predicting a busier-than-average year for 2022. Colorado State University’s hurricane outlook calls for 19 named storms, nine of which they expect to be “major hurricanes.”
Hurricane season in the Atlantic starts June 1 and ends Nov. 30.