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Weather Wise

published: April 1st 2022
by: Brian Bledsoe

A little La Niña resurgence

Sometimes when a particular La Niña or El Niño episode has peaked and is trying to go away, there will be a little resurgence in the signal. Well, that’s what we have happening right now. The image below shows the sea surface temperature anomalies:

    A few things to take away from this map…1) There is still plenty of colder than average water in the central/equatorial Pacific Ocean. It is denoted by the blue shading. 2) There is still a “horseshoe” of colder than average water from the Gulf of Alaska down the West Coast of the U.S…that is usually associated with a cold/negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation. 3) There is some warmer than average water developing off the West Coast of South America…denoted by the orange/red shading. So, while some things are remaining the same, a few other things are changing. 
    Recently, most of the latest computer model information holds onto La Niña for a little while longer. The chart below shows the likelihood of La Niña, El Niño and neutral conditions for the remainder of the year. 

    You can see that the La Niña (blue bars) percentages shrink a bit, briefly come back up, and then shrink again late in the year. At the same time, El Niño (red bars) percentages increase quite a bit after the summer. Given the time of year (spring predictability barrier), it is tough to say exactly what will happen. However, it is pretty rare to get another La Niña episode after two in a row. That is why I continue to think this episode will wane, and neutral to El Niño conditions will develop late this year.
    Computer models really haven’t changed much regarding spring precipitation trends. The map below shows where the greatest chance is of seeing drier than average conditions for April, May and June.

    The areas that have been wetter than average will likely continue to be wetter than average. The areas that have been drier than average will likely continue to be drier than average. However, the strongest dry signal will likely favor areas of the Southwest U.S. Farther east, the dry signal is still present, but to a lesser degree. That does give some hope for possibly more regular rain for Eastern Oklahoma, far East Texas and some areas along the Gulf Coast. Again, not an ideal situation, but better than areas farther west.

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