LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Meteorologists are forecasting a rare event to take place this winter season, as La Nina conditions are expected to continue for the third year in a row.
Meteorologist Kendall Wilson tells us what this “Triple Dip La Nina” could potentially mean for us in this Weather Wednesday.
La Nina conditions are forecasted to continue for the third year in a row. This is known as a “Triple Dip La Nina” and this would be the first one of the century. The last time these conditions were seen was back in the winter of 1975 and 2000.
Before we dive into what this Triple Dip could mean for us, let’s get a quick refresh on what La Nina is. La Nina occurs when we have cooler than average sea surface temperatures near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, this causes the overall weather pattern to chance for us in the U.S. Our jet stream shifts northward, and southern portions of the country see warmer and dryer weather, while those in the Northwest see cooler than average temperatures.
But for us in Mid-Michigan it generally means we see more precipitation, in any form, whether that be rain, ice, sleet, or snow.
In the past this Triple Dip La Nina has only occurred around three or four times since 1950, the two most recent being the winter of 1975-1976 and 2000-2001. Both were associated with extremely hard conditions across the state.
In March of 1976 we had what is now known as the Great Ice Storm of 1976, where multiple locations across our state saw two to three inches of ice accumulation, but some areas in Gratiot County picked up as much as five inches.
This caused hundreds of thousands of individuals across the state to lose power for days and even weeks in certain cases. Also, this year Lansing picked up 70.6 inches of snowfall for the season, which is around 19 inches above average.
Now in the winter of 2000-2001, multiple snowfall records were set across the state just in the month of December. Here in Lansing, we saw 33.5 inches of snow, and 21 consecutive days of snowfall; keep in mind that average accumulations here in December are around 11.1 inches, so we saw 3 times that in just one month. And we weren’t the only ones Grand Rapids also set records with 59.2 inches of accumulations in December alone.
So, if we go based on past experiences of Triple Dip La Ninas this winter we could see extended stretches of stormy winter weather but remember it all depends on our temperatures whether that precipitation is in the form of rain, ice or snow.