Return of La Nina?

Seems like we just got rid of here, right?  Yup, La Nina waned this spring, but left a huge atmospheric footprint that contributed to widespread drought in the southwest US.

US Drought Monitor, June 28, 2011

The drought monitor says it all, doesn't it?  Exceptional drought runs from New Mexico to the Florida Panhandle.  All courtesy of La Nina...

Notice that virtually no colder than normal water exists off the west coast of South America.  In fact, even a little warmer than normal water exists.  El Nino perhaps?  Nope, I think not...

History shows that after a very strong La Nina the previous year, things will neutralize in the late spring and summer, before coming back as a weaker version in the fall and winter.  I firmly believe this is the case.  If you read this blog or have seen me speak at any conservation district meetings or other drought seminars, you know this.  This year mirrors the trend of 2008 and has been doing so for a while now...  No reason to think it won't continue this track, as it did just a couple years ago.

The above graph shows the status of La Nina last fall and winter, and then the weakening late this spring.  The CFS Model also shows a return to La Nina status as early as late this summer.  Rather it comes back late this summer or not is still undecided.  I do think it will come back in a big way this fall and likely linger through early next spring.  The above model had no hint of this back in March, when we were talking about La Nina coming back in the fall of '11.  But, the model was ignoring history.  See there is still a use for humans

Bottomline, I would prepare for a dry fall and winter, and possibly most of next spring.  We had the second least snowy winter on record in CO Springs this last winter.  I am afraid it will likely be another dry one...  Time for that to change, but I am not betting on it...

Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe

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  • by Ryan Location: Monument on Sep 16, 2011 at 07:54 PM
    well at least our drought is not as bad as it is in Texas Texas has the worst drought I have ever seen in years I can't believe how much of the state is in a level 5 drought that is unbelieveable
  • by Christina Location: colorado springs on Jul 29, 2011 at 08:00 AM
    Brian, what are you forecasting for the upcoming winter af the U.S. as a whole? I live in the springs but my son lives in minneapolis for his freshman year of college. I know there is a huge ridge of high pressure noe that will take some time to break. But once it does mony forecasters are predicting a cold winter to the north and we could have an average to below average. Im no meteroligist... so thanks
  • by Brian Location: Weather Center on Jul 19, 2011 at 03:48 PM
    Last Summer had the second highest number of 90 degree days on record. I believe we hit 90 or above 35 days and the record is 37. Would have to double check on that though... We are at 20 days of 90 or above now and should make a run at it. That's what drought does folks, especially when the monsoon is either late or abbreviated.
  • by Ed Location: WF on Jul 17, 2011 at 08:56 PM
    Well, C, I'm looking at the data on the NWS website. See the average for this month so far is 74.8. With 90 or above for at least the next 5 days, I'd say that average will go up... wouldn't you? Well, the record is 75.8. There's a VERY GOOD CHANCE that will be broken if we continue on the 90 degree course that we've been on. So, yes we are already close and I'm pretty sure we WILL break the record. 20 days of 90 degrees or higher so far in June and July. I don't recall ANY summers where we've had many more 90 degree days THAN this one. Just the opinion of another non weather expert who is saddened by the extreme heat and lack of snow...for the last 10 years now.
  • by C on Jul 17, 2011 at 08:15 AM
    I'm not a weather expert, but I am pretty sure that this July is not close to being a record hot July. We have had summers with many more 90 degree days then this one. However, June was officially the second hottest ever recorded for Colorado Springs.
  • by Ed Location: WF on Jul 16, 2011 at 07:19 PM
    Has anyone noticed that we're on course to set a record for the HOTTEST July on record? No relief in sight either - 90's every day for the next several days. I sure don't see any significant cooling trends to knock our record setting HOT July off course. Not only will it be a record, but at this point we're 2 degrees (average daily temps) above the old record. Not to mention - June was the 3rd or 4th hottest June on record. Is all this related to freakin La nina? I don't remember summers ever being this HOT. I remember hot days now and then, but we've never had this many days in the 90's and the summer isn't even half over yet. Just gonna get worse I assume. Well, since you've never got any good news to share on here Brian. Let us know WHY the heat wave? Yeah the rain we've gotten has been nice, but all I'm hearing now is hot and dry for the foreseeable future. Bleh....
  • by Al Location: Security-Widefield on Jul 12, 2011 at 09:14 PM
    15 yrs...hmm...Refresh my memory. Is that when the PDO will swing more Positive?
  • by Chris Location: Black Forest on Jul 7, 2011 at 04:53 PM
    Sorry Brian. I can understand this when thinking about ranchers and farmers. The rain that we are getting now is awesome and a relief to see. Is there any hope that this will continue through the Summer? Thanks for everything that you all do. It is appreciated even if we all complain for time to time:)
  • by Brian Location: Weather Center on Jul 5, 2011 at 09:45 PM
    That's right Ed, about 10 to 15 more
  • by Ed on Jul 5, 2011 at 07:35 PM
    I know, I know. I'm just so sick of the lack of snow around here. My kids are getting the shaft. I grew up with big snow storms here. Often. I love this place, but man... I sure do miss the snow we USED to get here. But hey, on the bright side it will return in what like 15 more years? Right Brian?
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