KANSAS CITY, Missouri - La Niña is the sister of its more famous brother El Niño. Both of these oscillations, or ocean temperature anomalies, are part of what is called ENSO, or El Niño Southern Oscillation.
We are talking about the ocean water temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean. When the tropical Pacific Ocean waters are colder than average, for a period of at least 6 months, then it is called a La Niña event. When the opposite occurs and the waters are warmer than average it is called an El Niño event.
Last winter, when we had 44 inches of snow and twelve significant winter events, it was an El Niño winter across the tropical Pacific.
This year, the exact opposite is developing and the waters are now cooler than average and still dropping. Will this have an impact on our winter that is just a little over a month away?
At the top of the page is a graph of the Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) since 1950 . You can see the El Niño and La Niña years, some of which are stronger or weaker than the others.
The current La Niña is just now evolving and growing in strength. This means the tropical Pacific Ocean waters are still cooling below average.
I have done an extensive analysis of all of the La Niña events of the past 60 years. Some La Niña winters will end up wet and snowy, while others end up dry and much lower on snowfall totals.
La Niña’s impact on KC
In Kansas City there is a tendency for less snowfall and drier weather in La Niña years as compared to the 100 year average. The La Niña winter snowfall average is around 17” which is 3” below the Kansas City 100 year winter snowfall average.
This winter in Kansas City we are seeing a La Niña influence already setting up but, we have our own theory called the LRC (Lezak’s Recurring Cycle).
According to the LRC every year is unique, so hold onto to your meteorological thoughts as we are still predicting the future here. We will talk more about the LRC in another special segment and in our winter forecast. Our winter forecast will be unveiled November 16th.
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