La Nina Usually Brings Surplus of Rain & Snow, Except When It Doesn’t

(Radio Iowa) The La Nina weather system often brings Iowa and the Midwest an above-normal helping of precipitation, but even though the pattern is expected to stick around for yet another winter, we’re still suffering with drought. Doug Kluck, the climate services director for the Central Region of the National Weather Service, says there would normally be a lot more rainfall, especially in the Missouri River basin.

Kluck says, “It is possible that La Nina can contribute in a positive manner more usable precipitation for the basin.” The expected amount of precip simply hasn’t been materializing, he says, and it’s unclear whether that will change with the snowpack in the winter season ahead.

“The last two years have been La Nina and those last two years have been something like 88 and 90% of normal snowpack, where we would hope that La Nina would give us over 100%,” Kluck says, “but that didn’t happen.” Kluck says this situation is what adds to so much climate prediction uncertainty.

“It tells you the fickleness, to be honest, of using La Nina only as a forecast tool for that neck of the woods,” he says. The National Climate Prediction Center is forecasting this La Nina will fade away by early spring. The latest report from the U-S Drought Monitor shows 80 percent of Iowa is either abnormally dry or in some level of drought.

(Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)