Weather Updates

La Nina weather phenomenon blamed for rash of big storms

Updated: May 10, 2011 12:45AM

The weather phenomenon La Nina is to blame for our recent storm-filled winters following a series of unusually mild winters, climate experts say.

“Mother Nature has decided to show us what winter is like again,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the federal Climate Prediction Center.

This week’s huge blizzard followed a classic La Nina pattern, says Louis Uccellini, a winter-storm expert who is director of the government’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction — from the Midwest to the Northeast and redeveloping off the coast.

“We are linking the storm tracks to the La Nina pattern,” Uccellini said.

Halpert added that the storm went “where we would expect it, according to La Nina.”

La Nina is a periodic cooling of the surface temperatures of the tropical Pacific Ocean — the opposite of the better-known El Nino warming. Both can have significant impacts on weather around the world by changing the movement of winds and high- and low-pressure systems.


© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.