How Will Triple-Dip La Niña Affect The Colorado Winter?
Forecasting the seasonal weather is about as precise as predicting the outcome of a Denver Broncos football game. You never really know for sure what's going to happen.
This Year's Winter May Be a Replay of Previous Two Winters
You may have seen the annual winter outlook from the Farmers Almanac recently which indicated we could be in for a cold and snowy winter in Colorado - and possibly some record-breaking cold temperatures. But a former Grand Junction meteorologist says that might not be the case as a rare La Niña event could have a significant impact on Colorado.
Meteorologist Chris Tomer, who previously worked in the Grand Junction television market and now with Denver's FOX 31, says this year's Colorado winter may be similar to the last couple of years when the country's weather was impacted by La Niña, a weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean. A third straight year of this pattern is called a "Triple-Dip La Niña", which occurs once every 20-22 years.
According to NOAA, when La Niña occurs, strong winds blow warm water at the ocean's surface from South America to Indonesia. La Niña weather patterns typically bring drier conditions to much of the U.S.
What Does La Niña Mean For Colorado?
Typically we would expect La Niña to bring above-normal snowfall and colder temperatures to northern states. In Colorado, if this winter is like the last two, Tomer expects we'll have normal snowfall in the central and northern mountains with below-normal snowfall in the southern mountains with worsening drought conditions.
As for the approaching fall season, Tomer says he's expecting a warmer and drier than normal season across Colorado. Drier, unfortunately, seems to be the new norm. Last year, Denver went 232 days without snow, the second longest snowless streak in Denver history.
Either Way We'll Have Something To Talk About
While we can speculate about the upcoming fall and winter weather in Colorado, only time will tell how it actually pans out. We can't do anything about the weather - except talk about it and complain about it. No matter what happens it will be too cold, too warm, too snowy, or not snow enough.