The weather pattern known as La Nina may get part of the blame for this bout of exceptionally cold weather.
Observers are becoming more concerned with the current La Nina strengthening and what that could mean months from now.
Doug Kluck, the climate services director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Kansas City, says they’re carefully watching precipitation trends.
Kluck says, “It’s going to be an interesting winter and early spring to see if and when precipitation materializes and how much.” A La Nina pattern occurs when Pacific Ocean surface temperatures drop below long-term normals. It can impact the climate across North America, bringing some areas more storms, and droughts elsewhere.
Kluck says they’ve seen similar trends with past La Ninas. “It is sort of a worrisome pattern that we’ve been in up to this point,” Kluck says. “We’ve seen these dry and warm falls switch into or become dry springs and summers the next year, especially after a second La Nina and this is two years in a row.”
He notes there was a similar pattern in 2012, which resulted in a long drought for much of the Midwest and Northern Plains.
(By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)