La Nina Cometh...

You've heard me talk about La Nina before, but it has been a while.  We've been under the influence of El Nino since last Summer, but that time has come to an end.  Check out the sea surface temperature anomalies in the Pacific:

Current Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Plot

That blue shading that extends westward from the western tip of South America, is reflective of the building La Nina.  In fact, La Nina has rapidly materialized since April.  The animation below shows the change:

Tropical Pacific Sea Surface Temperatures Anomalies Animation

Computer models also show La Nina continuing to get strong and maintaining itself well into Winter:

The last time La Nina visited Southern Colorado was the Winter and Spring of 2005-06 and 2008-09.  Southern Colorado was plagued by high fire danger and drought, and near record low snowfall.  Here is what the prevailing pattern looks like during La Nina:

That huge blocking high pressure is responsible for diverting the main storm track to the north and east, and leaves us with dry and windy weather.  Not good...

While we'll continue to follow La Nina very closely, it looks like it is a certainty that we'll be in line for below normal precipitation for the Fall and the Winter.  Conversely, it does mean big snows for the northern and central mountains of Colorado.  That means a big recovery from last Winter.  Some bad, with a little good...

Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by ryan Location: monument on Aug 18, 2010 at 09:35 AM
    man I am getting sick of La Nina comeing it's like every time we get a La Nina Hurricane season turns out bad and we always get no snow I hate La Nina years I really do hate them
  • by jon Location: stratton meadows / southgate on Jul 25, 2010 at 08:57 PM
    so far this so called monsoon is proving to be a bust for rain here, only recieved .42 & .34 inch last week & nothing since.. this weekend total bust, failure for ANY showers to develope here at all where as forecast had mentioned a fair propability for showers to occur in this area for Sat & Sun.. nothing at all, had high dew points, but no production at all, so here comes a 5 - 6.5 inch total precipt year ? jon
  • by Brian Location: Weather Center on Jul 19, 2010 at 05:14 PM
    La Nina doesn't necessarily mean no monsoon, but usually a suppressed or shortened one. The next seven days will give us a good dose of monsoonal moisture, which will be some of the first since earlier in the month.
  • by jon Location: strattonmeadows/ southgate on Jul 16, 2010 at 05:39 PM
    la nina> means no monsoon rains for here ? sure seems over abundance of 90* temps for here : precipt observed, Apr; 1.27, May; .78, June; .47, as of July 16th, 1.16 in. totals for each month, as you can see an extreamly dry spring, to mid summer here. perhaps a new record low total precipt for a year possible (?), jon
  • by Randy on Jul 16, 2010 at 09:20 AM
    So, where are the monsoons we keep hearing about? We need the moisture.
  • by Ed Location: widefield on Jul 8, 2010 at 06:04 AM
    Wow. Looks like we might have a dry winter for a change. (Picture the rolling of eyes now)
  • by jon Location: strattonmeadows/ southgate on Jul 2, 2010 at 09:15 PM
    well folks, get ready to ' mount your snow shovel over the ' mantle ' just like you would with a elk head & antlers, or with old skis. & post an old photo of a ' hall of fame ' snow storm to go with it , afterwards go & get cactus & other super xeric plants to do garden with.. then you will be set for the dominance of the tyrannt la nina .. jon
  • by Dolores Location: Rocky Ford on Jul 2, 2010 at 09:21 AM
    How long has the PDO been in a cool phase? And how much longer do you think it will last? Thanks
  • by Al Location: Widefield=Security on Jul 2, 2010 at 07:59 AM
    Does the "PDO" have any bearing on the current " La Nina"?
  • by Brian Location: WeatherCenter on Jul 1, 2010 at 11:49 PM
    Yup, you are right Mike. The current state of the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean suggests that drought will remain more common than not. These decadal cycles have a huge influence on our weather locally. When the Pacific is cooler than normal and the Atlantic is warmer than normal, the frequency of drought increases greatly. Wish I had better news... Thanks for reading our blog.
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