Experts Predict Bay Area Will See Extremely Rare La Niña Event This Winter

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in its U.S. winter weather outlook that La Niña will make an appearance December through February for the third year in a row. It’s not unusual to see two consecutive winters marked by La Niña, but what U.S. forecasters are calling a “triple dip” is uncommon. Going back some 70 years, this has occurred only two other times.

Q&A: La Niña May Bring More Atlantic Storms, Western Drought

La Niña — which often means a busier Atlantic hurricane season, a drier Southwest and perhaps a more fire-prone California — has popped up in the Pacific Ocean.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday that a La Niña, the cooler flip side of the better known El Niño, has formed. Meteorologists had been watching it brewing for months.

A natural cooling of certain parts of the equatorial Pacific, La Niña sets in motion a series of changes to the world’s weather that can last months, even years. This one so far is fairly weak and is projected to last through at least February but may not be the two-to-three-year type sometimes seen in the past, NOAA Climate Prediction Center Deputy Director Mike Halpert said.

March Outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center issued their outlook for March late last week, with a colder month expected ahead for many areas of the nation. Below average temperatures are forecast from the Northeast southward through the Tennessee Valley and Southern Plains to the Gulf of Mexico. Warmer than normal temperatures are favored in the Southwest.