A climatologist with the University of Missouri is predicting that La Niña in the pacific will bring the Show-Me State colder temperatures and more snow this season.  “The long-range forecast is calling for another brutal winter,” said Tony Lupo, professor and chair of the Department of Atmospheric Science in the School of Natural Resources. “We’re predicting temperatures to be a couple of degrees lower than normal, precipitation to be right around normal and, with those cooler temperatures and increased moisture, we can expect another snowy winter for much of the Midwest.”  But he warned that predictions can be a bit tricky.  The forecasting of extreme events is very difficult, because of the probabilty of exceeding your record is so small, but when you are forecasting an extreme it gets easier as time gets shorter, he said.

For the rest of the United States, Lupo predicts:

  • The eastern and southeastern U.S. will experience a colder and snowier than normal winter.
  • In Texas and the southern plains, residents will experience a mild, dry winter.
  • The Great Lakes states will have the typical cold, snowy winter.
  • Northern states will have a colder, snowier winter than usual.
  • The Pacific Northwest will have a typical cool winter with slightly above average snowfall.
  • The western states will experience typical cool temperatures and typical precipitation levels.

Lupo said La Niña is the driving force behind the cold winter. “The 2010-2011 La Niña was one of the strongest on record,” Lupo said.  “Our weather is very much influenced by what happens out in the Pacific Ocean; whether it is in the tropics with La Niña and El Niño, or it’s in the upper part of the pacific where you have some warm water in the Gulf of Alaska.  Those two things are combining to set up a northwest flow over the continent.”

Video courtesy of University of Missouri