AMES — A colder, snowier winter may be ahead for Iowa and much of the region, as most weather watchers now agree that a La Nina weather pattern has developed.
Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the U.S.D.A.’s Midwest Climate Hub, based in Ames, says the indications for La Nina conditions are steady and the pattern may last another three months or more.
“We have about a 65% chance of it persisting through winter which is fairly good from a climate perspective,” Todey says. “The expectations are, typical La Nina conditions are what are reflected in the outlooks. The Northern Plains has a little better chance of being colder than average and potential for wetter than average conditions.”
A La Nina occurs when Pacific Ocean surface temperatures trend below normal for several months. Todey says this La Nina pattern appears to be only moderate in force.
“This is not going to be a really strong La Nina so our outlooks don’t reflect a real strength,” Todey says, “but at least when we have a La Nina, we have a little better chance of being able to say what we’re seeing going through the wintertime.” This weather pattern usually brings certain conditions, namely more colder temperatures and more snow than usual.
“If you like snow, we have a little better chance of having some snow on the ground but there’s not a ton of confidence behind this that it’s going to be exactly like this,” Todey says, “but with the La Nina, we have a little better chance of saying that it will be like this.” He adds, the expectation is that the La Nina will fade rather quickly next spring.