La Nina Pattern Causes Several Weather Disasters

If you read this blog, you know that La Nina is the abnormal cooling of the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.  It causes weather patterns to shift all over the world.  Most folks are more familiar with El Nino, which is the exact opposite of La Nina.  El Nino does cause storm tracks to shift too, so it is plausible to think that these shifting weather patterns could create problems.  Well, if anyone tells you that La Nina doesn't cause nearly the weather mayhem that El Nino does, they obviously have been living under a rock for the past year.  Here are the top 5 weather disasters that have occurred in the last 9 months:

1.  Record Drought and Wildfires:  Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas have been hit hard by the drought and amazing wildfires.  In Texas, the total acreage lost to fire is in the millions.  Crop losses, livestsock deaths, you name it...

2.  Record Rockies Snow:  The mountains of northern Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana saw record snow in the winter of 2010-11.  While Colorado Springs picked up just 12.7" for the entire winter, mountain areas measured the snow by the meter.  The Northern Plains also saw a lot of snow.  The melting of this record snowpack is now contributing to massive flooding on the Missouri River.

3.  Flooding Spring Rains:  The Mississippi River Valley saw extremely heavy rain during the months of March and April.  This caused all time record flooding along the MS River.  This flooding threatened many towns and cities along the river, with areas near Memphis and southward impacted the most. 

4.  Terrible Tornado Outbreaks:  The month of April is a month that will never be forgotten.  Several tornado outbreaks impacted areas from the Southern Plains to the Carolinas.  Many of these tornadoes were EF-3 or stronger, with a handful of EF-5s reported between April 14th-16th, and again from April 26th-28th.  An amazing 875 tornadoes were reported to have touched down during April, making it the most tornadic month EVER!  Notable violent tornadoes hit Tuscaloosa, Jackson, Raleigh, and St. Louis.  I still can't believe what happened in April...

5.  Joplin, Missouri EF-5 Tornado:  This monster destroyed much of Joplin on May 22nd.  Wind speeds over 250 mph occurred with this tornado, and it was over a mile wide while it was shredding Joplin.  This tornado was responsible for 141 deaths, making it the 8th deadliest tornado on record and the deadliest tornado since 1950.   From 2000 to 2010, 650 people lost their lives do to tornadoes.  In the last 4 months, 520 people have lost their lives do to tornadoes.  2011 will forever be known as the year of the "metro tornado", meaning many tornadoes threatened or destroyed major towns and cities.  When violent tornadoes strike metro areas, deaths occur.  It is that simple...

I didn't even include the record snow in The Northeast.  The winter of 2010 and 2011 was a winter that many folks didn't think would end.  It got started in October and lasted into March...

ALL of this bad weather was brough on by the strong La Nina and the stubborn storm tracks that it produced.  If you look back through history, similar weather is associated whenever we do have a strong La Nina.  Droughts in 2005-06, 08-09, major tornado outbreaks in 2004 and 2008, and I am just recalling the recent years.  All through history this type of stuff has occurred. 

After the past few months, let's just hope that this hurricane season is a quiet one...

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 Mary Location: Crowley County on Mar 28, 2012 at 10:00 AM
    Brian, Can you give us an update on La Nina? What are the predictions for this summer? Thanks
  • by Brian Location: Weather Center on Jun 14, 2011 at 07:23 PM
    Sorry for the bad news Ed, but it should come as no surprise. The La Nina tha will redevelop in the fall and winter won't be as strong as the last, but it will likely keep us pretty dry. See my latest blog post about it...
  • by Ed Location: La Nina Springs, CO on Jun 14, 2011 at 05:49 AM
    Brian, Are you freaking kidding me?! We're going to have another La Nina winter??? The thoughts of this just makes me sick! We are still feeling the effects of the 2nd least snowy winter in the last 100 years and you're saying it's going to happen again next year? What gives with this? Is it one of the "phases" you're always talking about? This is the first I've heard about La Nina returning, does it look as strong as the one we're in? Gosh darnit! You ruined my day...week...summer. No rain in the future forecast, now La Nina for the winter (AGAIN!!!). This place is drying up - for real!
  • by RICHARD Location: PALMER,ALASKA on Jun 13, 2011 at 02:32 PM
  • by phyllis Location: divide on Jun 13, 2011 at 08:36 AM
    Oh Brian, that is not what I want to hear. This never ending la nina will come back in the fall. I,m hopeful for a nice nuetral summer and an active monsoon season. I live in the mountains for a reason lush green summers and white winters... p.s. I'm so over with the wind, haze and drought.... please fix this. thank you.
  • by Brian Location: Weather Center on Jun 11, 2011 at 07:22 PM
    The footprint of La Nina is still causing some enhancement of the drought. Neutral conditions will prevail in the next couple months, then likely head back to La Nina this fall. We'll see how the monsoon or lack of monsoon plays out in the next month or two...
  • by James Location: Manitou Springs on Jun 11, 2011 at 12:54 PM
    Thank God for La Nina and sunspots! Heaven forbid we might have to face what we're doing to this planet.
  • by Anna on Jun 10, 2011 at 05:45 AM
    What Ed said...
  • by Ed Location: WF on Jun 9, 2011 at 05:31 AM
    Well, what's the long term outlook? Does it look like La nina is going to go away for a while? I know I've seen it was weakening, but I haven't seen anything about it in a while. What's next? El Nino or are we going to get a break for the "el's and la's" for a while?
  • by Brian Location: Weather Center on Jun 8, 2011 at 01:47 PM
    Margarita, we show Trinidad all the time in our 4pm&530pm shows, and show it on two of our forecast maps at 10pm. The 10pm show is designed to highly localize the weather for our main population centers and our core viewership. If there is bad weather occurring in Trinidad, we will always cover it, and you can always get your 7 Day Planner for Trinidad on our website ( NO other station gives a 7Day forecast for Trinidad...
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