Weekly Weather Event -Week of October 12thOctober 16, 2020
On October 15th, NOAA released their U.S Winter Outlook for 2020 into 2021. Their Climate Prediction Center expects warmer, drier conditions throughout the southern United States, and colder, wetter conditions towards the northern central and western regions. Above average temperatures are also favored for Alaska and Hawai’i. In addition to these overarching patterns, the Climate Prediction Center is also monitoring widespread drought conditions, as over 45% of the continental United States is currently experiencing drought conditions. Contrasting the drought conditions, precipitation is expected to be above average in the northern plains, the Ohio Valley, and in Hawai’i.
These widespread patterns are in part due to an ongoing La Niña event, which is expected to both expand and intensify drought conditions in the southern portions of the country. La Niña is considered the ‘cold phase’ of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, with El Niño considered the ‘warm’ phase of the cycle. During the La Niña portion of the cycle, the waters along the east-central Equatorial Pacific (right along the western Central/South American coast) are colder than average. This brings weather patterns as described earlier, with warmer temperatures to the southern United States and cooler temperatures to the northwest.