TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida’s fall and winter may feel a bit different this year thanks to the return of the winter phenomenon called La Nina.
Here in Florida, we’re usually more familiar with El Nino. So what is La Nina and what does it mean for the weather here in Tampa Bay?
It all has to do with the water in the Pacific Ocean near the equator. The sea surface temperatures near the equator are cooler than normal right now, so the NOAA Climate Prediction Center predicts an 87% chance of having a La Nina winter.
During La Nina falls and winters, the jet stream usually stays a bit farther to the north. That means cooler conditions across the Great Lakes and the Upper Plains.
But for those living in the Deep South, including Florida, La Nina usually means warmer-than-normal conditions. That’s because the cold fronts don’t come down as far.
The lack of cold fronts usually means there’s also less rain in the south during La Nina.
A moderate La Nina is forecast to last through the early spring months into 2022. This comes after a brief period during the summer months of neutral conditions in the ocean-atmospheric weather pattern. La Nina was also in place last winter.
It is not uncommon to have two consecutive winters of La Nina in place and is referred to as a “double-dip” by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.