Q&A: La Nina’s back and it’s not good for parts of dry West

Oct 14, 2021, 1:46 PM | Updated: 9:21 pm

For the second straight year, the world heads into a new La Nina weather event. This would tend to dry out parts of an already parched and fiery American West and boost an already busy Atlantic hurricane season.

Just five months after the end of a La Nina that started in September 2020, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a new cooling of the Pacific is underway.

La Nina’s natural cooling of parts of the Pacific is the flip side of a warmer El Nino pattern and sets in motion changes to the world’s weather for months and sometimes years. But the changes vary from place to place and aren’t certainties, just tendencies.

La Ninas tend to cause more agricultural and drought damage to the United States than El Ninos and neutral conditions, according to a 1999 study. That study found La Ninas in general cause $2.2 billion to $6.5 billion in damage to the U.S. agriculture.

HOW STRONG AND HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?

There’s a 57% chance this will be a moderate La Nina and only 15% that it will be strong, said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. He said it is unlikely to be as strong as last year’s because the second year of back-to-back La Ninas usually doesn’t quite measure up to the first.

This La Nina is expected to stretch through spring, Halpert said.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE WEST?

For the entire southern one-third of the country and especially the Southwest, a La Nina often means drier and warmer weather. The West has been experiencing a two decade-plus megadrought that’s worsened the last couple of years.

But for the Northwest — Washington, Oregon, maybe parts of Idaho and Montana — La Nina means a good chance rain and drought relief, Halpert said.

“Good for them, probably not so good for central, southern California,” Halpert said.

The Ohio Valley and Northern Plains could be wetter and cooler. La Nina winters also tend to shift snow storms more northerly in winter while places like the mid-Atlantic often don’t get blockbuster snowstorms.

WHAT ABOUT ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON?

During last year’s La Nina, the Atlantic set a record with 30 named storms. This year, without La Nina, the season has still been busier than normal with 20 named storms and only one name left unused on the primary storm name list: Wanda.

The last couple weeks have been quiet but “I expect it to pick up again,” Halpert said. “Just because it’s quiet now, it doesn’t mean we won’t still see more storms as we get later into October and even into November.”

La Ninas tend to make Atlantic seasons more active because one key ingredient in formation of storms is winds near the top of them. An El Nino triggers more crosswinds that decapitate storms, while a La Nina has fewer crosswinds, allowing storms to develop and grow.

WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF THE WORLD?

Much of both southeast Asia and northern Australia are wetter in La Nina — and that’s already apparent in Indonesia, Halpert said. Central Africa and southeast China tend to be drier.

Expect it to be cooler in western Canada, southern Alaska, Japan, the Korean peninsula, western Africa and southeastern Brazil.

___

Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: @borenbears.

___

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

3 injured in shooting at amusement park near Chicago

GURNEE, Ill. (AP) — Three people were injured late Sunday in a shooting at an amusement park north of Chicago. Three people were hurt in a parking lot outside Six Flags Great America in Gurnee when shots were fired from a vehicle, according to a spokesperson for the park, which is located about 45 miles […]
21 hours ago
A motorist pumps gasoline at United Oil gas station in Los Angeles Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. The avera...
Associated Press

Average US gasoline price falls 45 cents to $4.10 per gallon

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline plummeted 45 cents over the past three weeks to $4.10 per gallon. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that the continued decline comes as crude oil costs also remain low. “The drop of a dollar per gallon has not been […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Actress Anne Heche poses for a portrait to promote the film, "The Last Word" during the Sund...
Associated Press

Anne Heche, star with troubled life, dies of crash injuries

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anne Heche, the Emmy-winning film and television actor whose dramatic Hollywood rise in the 1990s and accomplished career contrasted with personal chapters of turmoil, died of injuries from a fiery car crash. She was 53. Heche was “peacefully taken off life support,” spokeswoman Holly Baird said in a statement Sunday night.. […]
21 hours ago
FILE - An iPhone displays the Facebook app in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. Facebook failed to detect...
Associated Press

Strike four: Facebook misses election misinfo in Brazil ads

Facebook failed to detect blatant election-related misinformation in ads ahead of Brazil’s 2022 election, a new report from Global Witness has found, continuing a pattern of not catching material that violates its policies the group describes as “alarming.” The advertisements contained false information about the country’s upcoming election, such as promoting the wrong election date, […]
21 hours ago
A Japanese flag flutters at the Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo on July 29, 2022. Japan’s eco...
Associated Press

Japan ekes out growth as consumers splurge amid COVID surge

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s economy grew at an annual rate of 2.2% for the April-June quarter from the previous quarter, the government said Monday, as consumer spending rebounded with COVID-19 restrictions getting gradually lifted. Japan’s gross domestic product, or GDP, the sum of the value of a nation’s products and services, expanded 0.5% from January-March, […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Second fatal shooting this month near George Floyd Square

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — One man died and another was seriously hurt in the second fatal shooting this month near the intersection where George Floyd died in police custody more than two years earlier. Minneapolis Police spokesman Officer Garrett Parten said officers found two wounded men with life-threatening injuries Sunday afternoon near the intersection in south […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Q&A: La Nina’s back and it’s not good for parts of dry West