How will a La Niña impact Virginia’s winter season?

Winter Ready 2021

(WFXR) — The 2021-2022 winter season will be defined as an weak La Niña winter. It is a phrase we hear often, but what does it really mean and how will that impact western Virginia this winter?

First, we need to figure out how scientists determine that this is a La Niña Winter. To do that, we need more information about the waters off the west coast of South America.

The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, is defined by the warming and cooling of sea surface waters off the coast of Ecuador. The warmer waters off the coast define the El Niño cycle while the cool waters define the La Niña cycle.

Currently, we are in a cooler than normal cycle in that area. Therefore, it is defined as a La Niña cycle.

Now, how does that impact Virginia?

Cooler waters don’t allow nearly as much water to evaporate, which in turn impacts a number of features in the meteorological processes that directly or indirectly affect the long range forecasts throughout the world.

In short, for the Commonwealth, a La Niña year keeps a good deal of available moisture north of the region, leaving forecasters to predict a drier than normal winter season. This phenomenon also impacts temperatures in the area, which means that during a La Niña scenario, the region is generally milder or warmer than normal.

These two forecasts of temperature and moisture have pushed many climatologists and meteorologists to indicate that this winter in the Mid-Atlantic region will be warmer and drier. In other words, not too much snow and not too bitter cold.

For breaking news delivered to you, subscribe to WFXR’s breaking news email list

Get breaking news, weather, and sports delivered to your smartphone with the WFXR News app available on [Apple] and [Android]

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News

More News

News Tip Form