Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another "La Nina" Storm

If you are reading this, you should be skiing.

After yesterday's event, it's a bit of a let down to look at the satellite imagery, radar, and surface observations this morning, but there is something interesting in the forecast.

As many of you know, we are in the midst of a La Nina winter.  During La Nina winters, there is a tendency for the southwest to experience below average precipitation during the heart of winter (Jan-Mar).

Source: NOAA/Climate Prediction Center
We have a saying in meteorology, however, that climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.  Over the next few days, a deep upper-level trough will impact the desert southwest, bringing another round of lowland rain and mountain snow to that region.

The deep upper-level troughs that have moved across the southwest this winter provide a good example of why it is important to avoid over generalization.  Just because the "dice are loaded" for a dry winter, doesn't mean it is guaranteed, and it doesn't mean that a major precipitation event can't occur.  Perhaps being weather resilient in the desert southwest makes sense regardless of whether there is an El Nino, La Nino, or neutral ENSO winter.  

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