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What role will La Niña play in WNY's weather this winter season?

La Niña will likely impact the path of the Jetstream across North America.
Credit: WGRZ

BUFFALO, N.Y. — This week, the members of Storm Team 2 Are releasing their winter weather outlook for western New York for the 2021-2022 season.

There are a variety of climate influences which affect overall temperature and precipitation patterns across North America.

The most well-known is probably the ENSO, The El Nino Southern Oscillation.

It is currently in a negative phase as we enter winter. That phenomenon is nicknamed La Niña. What that means is that cooler than normal temperatures are expected in the surface waters of the equatorial Pacific near South America.

And believe it or not, though were so far away, La Niña will likely affect the path of the Jetstream across North America. The Jetstream is a primary steering mechanism for weather patterns across Canada and the United States. 

The Pacific Northwest can anticipate a wetter than normal winter season, while the American southeast can expect to be drier than normal this winter. 

In our neck of the woods, the Great Lakes region, there is not as profound an impact. However, statistically our La Niña winters have proven to be a little bit milder, and a little bit wetter than normal. 

Theoretically, this means that we may have a couple more wintry mix events, as opposed to plain snow, compared to a typical winter.

Again, though we may lean above average in the temperature department, it would only likely be a couple of degrees, which won’t make it feel much different compared to a typical winter in Western New York.

As a unit, Storm Team 2 has agreed that there are no climate indications that our winter season will be exceptionally above or below average in terms of accumulating snows.

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