NewsLocal News


Rare 'triple-dip' La Niña likely this winter

Posted at 6:57 PM, Aug 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 21:57:23-04

A rare 'triple-dip' La Niña could mean warmer and drier weather across Arizona this winter.

La Niña, or "Little Girl" in Spanish, happens when the waters along the equator west of Peru are cooler than average.

This causes the jet stream, or the steering winds that move storms, to push farther north in North America, keeping places like the Desert Southwest warmer and drier.

'Triple-dip' La Niñas, or three La Niña years in a row, have occurred twice since 1950. It happened in the mid-70s and again from 1998 to 2001.

In fact, the second driest winter on record in Phoenix happened during the 'triple-dip' La Niña winter of 1999-2000. Only 0.01" of rainfall fell at Sky Harbor that winter.

Although the official outlook won't be released until later this year, experts say that there's a greater than 60% chance of La Niña sticking around this winter, meaning that another warmer and drier than average winter is likely if history repeats itself.

Experts also say that the changing climate may impact the intensity of El Niño and La Niña's, meaning they may be stronger when they do form.