Wide sections of Iowa were hit with a whopper winter storm this week that dumped up to ten inches of snow, thanks in part to the La Nina weather pattern that’s impacting the climate across the continent. Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, says we’ve been in La Nina for three straight years now.
The La Nina forms when there’s a cooling of Pacific Ocean surface temperatures. Todey says it appears those temps are warming and the La Nina may vanish.
An El Nino occurs when sea surface temperatures rise above normal. Todey says seeing signs of an El Nino appearing that quickly would be unusual.
He notes, there are concerns an El Nino could add more heat to an already warming climate, which would be foul news for Iowa, most of which remains in very dry or drought conditions.