La Niña could impact winter weather in the East

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Cooler weather is here back, and meteorologists are already looking ahead to the coming winter. Last winter, all the talk was about El Niño and how it would influence our weather. This winter, El Niño’s counterpart, La Niña, is expected to have an impact on our weather.

La Niña is the cooling of ocean waters in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. A change way out there can shift weather patterns across the globe.

In the East, La Niña tends to keep the jet stream bottled up to the north, keeping storms systems and arctic air at bay.


So, it may come as no surprise then that the official winter outlook released by NOAA is forecasting above average temperatures in the East through the winter.


With a storm track to the north, NOAA also predicts a drier than average winter.


With a forecast like this, it would be easy to think that snow is off the table this winter, but that may not necessarily be the case.

La Niña is expected to be weak, meaning that other atmospheric processes may factor in. One of those is the polar vortex. In the winter, pieces of the polar vortex can dive south into the eastern U.S., bringing arctic chill.

It’s too soon to say what may happen with the polar vortex this winter, but the possibility of arctic outbreaks, and even snow, is there.

Don’t be surprised by some brief cold and snow this winter, although that looks less likely this winter.

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