John Wheeler: La Niña is dead
La Niña likely has contributed to this winter and last winter being cold.
FARGO — The La Niña is dead. After three consecutive winters with La Niña conditions across the tropical Pacific, conditions have returned to neutral. For the moment, this is having no noticeable impact on weather patterns. Over the next few weeks, the Pacific Trade Winds and tropical rainfall patterns will return to near average.
Although the La Niña likely has contributed to this winter and last winter being cold, the demise of La Niña does not do a regional forecast much good. The impacts of these tropical weather anomalies are less certain away from the tropics where other forces are equally able to impact the patterns. One thing to watch for would be a potential switch to El Niño next winter, which would raise the probability of a milder, drier winter for the Northern Plains. Should the tropical Pacific conditions remain near average, then the weather will do whatever if decides to do.