La Ni��a Is Coming. Heres What That Means For Winter Weather In The U.S.

By WRAL Severe Weather Center

The winter months are almost here, so it's time for the WRAL Severe Weather Center's winter outlook.

Like last year, we are expected to be in a La Niña pattern during the winter months. Typically, La Niña events occur every 3 to 5 years, but they can occur in consecutive years, according to the National Weather Service.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains La Niña as a natural ocean-atmospheric phenomenon marked by cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator.

Above-normal temps, but snow still possible

Globally, temperatures tend to be below-normal during a La Niña pattern.

However, in the most recent nine La Niña years (out of the last 51), all but one saw above-normal temperatures in North Carolina during the winter months.

img src="https://wwwcache.wral.com/asset/weather/2021/11/16/19985379/RDU_Snow_Averages-DMID1-5swrfzngk-640x360.jpg" title="The average snow over the past 20 and 10 years at Raleigh-Durham International Airport " alt="Average snow at RDU"">Average snow at RDU

WRAL meteorologists are sticking with the odds and forecasting above-normal temperatures with a few cold snaps.

Predicting snow is one of the trickiest parts of the winter weather forecast, but there is good news for snow lovers. Weather conditions like temperatures, cloud coverage, precipitation type and timing are some of the criteria used to determine the accuracy of the forecast.

img src="https://wwwcache.wral.com/asset/weather/2021/05/13/19677267/120616-Climate_Normals_Change_RDU-DMID1-5quht2fpm-220x165.jpg" width="120" height="90" alt="RDU climate normals"">RDU climate normalsNew 'normal' climate data shows nearly an inch less snow, more rain, warmer temperatures in the Triangle

Data shows that in each La Niña year, there was at least one measurable snow event and at least three days with a trace of snow in addition to that.

For this year, WRAL meteorologists are predicting 2 to 5 inches of snow.

The outlier La Niña year

Last year turned out to be a fairly cold winter, with temperatures overall below-normal for December, January and February. Only 34 out of 90 days saw temperatures above normal.

The warmest high was 77 degrees on Feb. 28, and the coldest low was 20 degrees on Dec. 26 and Jan. 30. The all-time warmest winter high at RDU on record was 84 degrees on Feb. 26, 1977. The coldest was -9 degrees on Jan. 21, 1985.

img src="https://wwwcache.wral.com/asset/weather/2021/11/16/19985381/Winter_Normals-DMID1-5swrg77ih-640x360.jpg" title="Average high temperatures in Raleigh over the past years " alt="Winter normals in Raleigh"">Winter normals in Raleigh

Last year, WRAL meteorologists predicted 3 to 5 inches of snow, which would be short of the climatological normal of 6.8 inches. But, the prediction was a bit too optimistic, and central North Carolina only received a measly 1.2 inches of snow.

While it was a scanty snow year in central North Carolina, other parts of the United States saw record-breaking amounts of snow. In February, a massive winter system dumped snow across the northeast U.S.

img src="https://wwwcache.wral.com/asset/weather/2021/11/16/19985378/Monthly_average_snow-DMID1-5swrftij2-640x360.jpg" title="The monthly average snow at Raleigh-Durham International Airport " alt="Monthly average snow at RDU "">Monthly average snow at RDU

Source : https://www.wral.com/la-ni-a-pattern-could-mean-good-news-for-snow-lovers-in-wrals-winter-outlook/19981655/

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