La Niña – How it has affected our weather and what we can expect temperature-wise and weather-wise this Spring/Summer
By S. Kim Henson
La Niña is on its way out; at least that’s the forecast for now. But, as we all know, no one knows for sure. However, there’s a good chance the prediction is accurate because the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says conditions from La Niña last anywhere from nine months to two years. Since the weather phenomenon began July 2010, it’s nearly run the full course.
Cooler surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean characterize La Niña, an occurrence that influences weather patterns around the world in the opposite way as El Niño. The two are extreme phases of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, a natural climate cycle that fluctuates every three to five years between the warm phase of El Niño and the cold phase of La Niña.
In February, the National Weather Service reported La Niña weakening, projecting neutral weather conditions by May. Until then, we can expect the same affects as we experienced during winter. The Grand Strand, as well as the rest of the Southeastern United States, is likely in for a warmer, drier spring than usual. Summer temperatures and rainfall are expected to normalize if La Niña continues to dissipate. One thing is for sure, whether La Niña stays or goes, warmer weather is on its way.