What is in this article?:
- As La Niña weakens and El Niño threatens, forecasters admit the weather forecast for summer remains a mystery.
- La Niña has entered “neutral status”, meaning it no longer is considered a significant event that drives weather patterns for North America.
- There is still a chance lasting effects of a strong La Niña, called the La Niña footprint, may be with us at least through spring.
It wasn’t so many years ago that weather forecasters were feeling confident about technology advancements that armed them with better ways of accurately predicting the weather. But in the words of one National Weather Service meteorologist, “the more we discover about the weather the more we realize how little we know.”
A case in point is the forecast for developing weather in the 2012 crop year.
According to the Australia Bureau of Meteorology, effective this week (Mar. 25), the weather event known as La Niña has entered “neutral status”, meaning it no longer is considered a significant event that drives weather patterns for North America.
Why is this significant? The best answer would be because La Niña is being credited with causing the worst drought in Southwest U.S. history, the drought of 2011, and was a major contributor to the extreme and searing heat that complicated the lack of moisture in the region, resulting in the largest loss to agriculture ever recorded, over $7.2 billion in losses in Texas alone according to the latest numbers.
So if La Niña is no longer steering dry, hot weather patterns across the Southwest, and considering that rain (in some cases significant rain) has fallen since early January across much of the region, then the forecast models going forward into late spring and summer should be calling for more of the same—namely rain, and the end of the drought as we have come to know it.