Boulder, CO, Nov. 18--With winter just around the corner and the presence of another La Nina weather pattern, most skiers are looking for answers concerning this year's snow forecast.
The nation's top weather experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) agree that the lingering La Nina cycle will influence the winter weather through March 2000. The question is how.
Last year, as we all know, La Nina left much of the US warm and dry while dumping copious amounts of snow on the lucky few. However, the warmer-than-normal La Nina temperatures that dominated last season were the result of the lingering effects of the previous year's El Nino. This year, El Nino has completely dissipated, so La Nina's weather should differ greatly.
Another important factor is that this La Nina is a twofer--the second in a row. Since 1950, there have been four back-to-back La Nina years. In all but one instance, the second La Nina was colder and snowier. In fact, one of those years produced near-record snowfall in regions of the Pacific Northwest.
"We expect the Pacific Northwest and the Great Lakes regions to receive the brunt of La Nina," explained Vernon Kousky of the CPC. "We anticipate these regions to be wetter and colder."
Kousky continued to say that the variation in the jet stream pattern makes it difficult to predict the weather outside of these regions. Cold Arctic air--vital for snow--could stay north, making for milder weather. However, the further south the cold air dips, the more likely that precipitation will be snow, instead of rain.
It's impossible to predict 100 percent whether this winter will be colder and wetter than usual, but research done by the CPC and the NOAA certainly points in that direction.
There is one thing for sure, La Nina is here for the winter, so hope and pray that she is here to dump snow everywhere. Here are my best guess predictions for La Nina 2000.