Looking ahead: What La Nina might mean for winter in KELOLAND


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Our first glimpse at the winter outlook may be coming into better focus. Meteorologist Adam Rutt explains.

Long range forecasting can be challenging, but it helps when some clues begin to make themselves known. One such clue just came around recently.

When we attempt to see what may happen during an upcoming winter season, we look westward toward the waters of the central and eastern tropics of the Pacific Ocean. Based on long-range data and observed conditions, a La Nina pattern will continue to set up shop.

A drier than average late summer is an early indication that the early signs of La Nina conditions are in place. What does that mean for winter? Temperature wise, it means a decent amount of cold weather. With the jet stream featuring a more wave-like pattern and a blocking ridge of high pressure over the Pacific, troughs of below average air can pool in place more readily.

In terms of moisture, there isn’t as much of a change in either direction. While moisture rates tend to skew a bit above average at times in a typical La Nina pattern, it may seem like its snowier at times since the colder than average temperatures will help keep snow on the ground for longer.

The key word that I used earlier is “usually”. Just like with anything else in the world of weather, there are no true blue guarantees. With that said, the signs so far point to a chilly early winter outlook that we’ll keep a close eye on.

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