There's a very high chance La Nina conditions will persist this winter. What does that mean for Arkansas?
The water in the equatorial Pacific off the coast of South America is cooler than average. No two La Nina events are exactly alike and it's just 1 of several pieces to a forecasting puzzle. However, there are common characteristics to most of these events. For our portion of the country, it's characterized by above average temperatures and average to below average precipitation. THAT DOES NOT MEAN WE WON'T HAVE WINTER WEATHER.
Notable recent La Nina winters have brought (thanks to James Bryant for getting this info)...
"In our history of La Nina's the last 20 years, here are a few of the big events that stick out.
Early 2018: Record cold to warmth
Dec. 2017: Heavy rain
Early 2011: Cold/snow/severe/warmth
Early 2008: Storms/tornadoes
Jan/Feb 2000: Snow to severe storms
Early 1999: Tornadoes"
We can also add the January 2009 north Arkansas ice storm to that list as well. In March of 2008, we had back-to-back huge snow events.
Bottom line, when we end up looking at the 3 month period of December, January, and February, we'll likely see temperatures a little above average and precip near to below average. That does not tell the whole story though. There are likely to be notable events as there typically are every winter. I'm more concerned with severe weather this late fall and winter. It seems like most La Ninas produce at least a few episodes.
One more thought. Many forecasts for the 2011 La Nina advertised a warm and dry winter. We ended up having the most snow since 1988. Never say never to Arkansas weather!!!!
A typical La Nina..