La Niña Watch Issued; Is a Cold Winter Coming?

A La Niña Watch was issued by the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) last week. According to the CPC website, a La Niña Watch is issued when conditions are favourable for the development of La Niña conditions within the next six months.

As you’ve probably heard before, La Niña, or its “brother” El Niño, can have a big impact on winter weather in North America. In the Canadian Prairies region, La Niña usually means colder and snowier winter conditions. The graphic below summarizes why that is the case.


A typical La Niña winter brings colder conditions to the Canadian Prairies.

In La Niña years, the jet stream tends to be quite strong and remains consolidated in one band, rather than splitting into multiple streams. This tends to make it easier for frigid air to plunge down from the arctic across the Prairies. The presence of a strong jet stream in our region also allows weather systems to pass through frequently, making snow a common occurrence.

While it’s too early to say for sure whether a La Niña event will develop this winter, it is the most likely outcome at this point. The International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University has put together a graphic that shows the likelihood of various outcomes this winter. As you can see in the image below, La Niña is most likely, followed by neutral conditions (no El Niño or La Niña).

A La Niña event is currently the most likely outcome for this winter.

If you’d like more details on what to expect this winter, or need winter weather forecasts, our professional meteorologists would be happy to assist your business. Visit the contact us page to get in touch.

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