This week, La Nia returned, bringing more snow to New Jersey

This week, La Nia returned, bringing more snow to New Jersey ...

For the second consecutive year, a natural climate pattern known as La Nia has developed, and forecasters say it may have sway over the upcoming winter season in the United States and possibly on the remaining weeks of the Atlantic hurricane season.

The re-emergence of La Nia, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration refers to as a double dip because of its arrival in back-to-back years, was triggered by cooler than average temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean.

More people may be aware of the opposite pattern: El Nio, which occurs when ocean temperatures in the central Pacific are warmer than average. But both El Nio and La Nisa conditions play a significant influence on weather patterns not only in the United States, but also around the world.

Experts claim that a strong El Nio tends to cause more wind shear in the Atlantic hurricane basin, limiting the formation and strength of tropical storms and hurricanes. A strong La Nia favors storm patterns with less wind shear, making it easier for tropical systems to develop and strengthen in the Atlantic.

Will the return of La Nia play a role in the remaining weeks of the 2021 hurricane season? Experts from NOAAs Climate Prediction Center believe itll be possible, even though the Atlantic hurricane basin the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico remains relatively quiet right now, with no major storms brewing.

With 20 named hurricanes coming into the hurricane season, which runs until Nov. 30, the season has already been an active one, with 20 storms named.

Winter weather has an effect on the temperature.

A La Nia climate pattern tends to result in colder, snowier winters in the far north of the United States, and warmer, drier winter days in much of southern United State.

According to several weather experts, New Jersey State Climatologist David Robinson claims that the storm's impact on the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions including New York is not as consistent as it is in other areas of the country.

Robinson said prior to last years La Nia pattern that "we are simply in a position where we are wedged between areas where signals are more consistent."

Robinson noted that during winters that are dominated by a La Nia pattern, the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes are generally cooler than average and the Southeast is generally dry. Were in the middle, with most La Nias favoring precipitation close to average, but not leaning toward an extreme in either direction.

Forecasters from WeatherWorks, based in Warren County, analysed La Nia winters since the late 1980s and found that a strong La Nica pattern results in milder winter days in the New Jersey area, with average or under-average snowfall. During some La Nia winters, however, the Garden State has been hit by significant snow.

According to Robinsons weather database at Rutgers University, last winter, when another La Nia pattern was in effect, was New Jersey s 29th warmest on record. Except for the month of January, it was also a fairly snowy winter.

New Jersey received an average of 29.9 inches of snow last winter, which is almost 10 inches higher than usual.

Will this winter be a repeat, with another La Nia weather pattern and tens of inches of snow in the Garden State?

Jim Sullivan, a long-range forecaster at WeatherWorks, believes he has inherited reliance on whether the jet stream pattern this winter prevents stale air from spreading to Canada and the northern Rockies. In his early winter outlook for 2021-2022, Sullivan notes that this would limit the amount of snow that falls in the eastern United States as well as in central America.

Although he sees similarities between last years La Nia pattern which was considered to be moderate luster -- and the one thatll be similar this year, which is favored to have a minor to moderate intensity, Sullivan believes that temperatures may not be as warm as they were last winter.

My gut feeling is this is probably going to be a little colder winter than we had last year, Sullivan told NJ Advance Media on Friday. If it is colder than last winter, it certainly opens the door to more snow than average.

However, he added, if the cold air remains locked up (in the northern Rockies and Canada), that may limit our possibilities of snow.

Current weather radar shows the weather at the moment.

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Len Melisurgo may be reached at LMeliurgo@njadvancemedia.com.

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