La Nina to persist through Winter

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Winter 2017 Outlook.  Meteorologist Chris Tomer.

Winter 2017 Outlook. Meteorologist Chris Tomer.

DENVER — The latest data suggest a 55 percent chance that La Nina will persist through winter. This will have an impact on snowfall patterns in Colorado.

Last winter, El Nino was in control.  But there has been a complete reversal with La Nina in control.

El Nino is characterized by warmer-than-normal temperatures in the South Pacific near the equator.  La Nina is just the opposite, with cooler-than-normal temperatures.

This plays an important role in where the dominate wintertime jet stream sets up.  The jet stream is essentially the storm track, and it often determines who gets the most snowfall.

Last winter, it was the southern mountains of Colorado that received above-normal snowfall.  This winter will be just the opposite with the northern mountains in line for the surplus.

The chances of heavier, more consistent snowfall favors Steamboat Springs, Buffalo Pass, Flat Tops, Rocky Mountain National Park, and just brushing Winter Park and Sol Vista.

Elsewhere, a normal winter is forecast for the Interstate 70 corridor, with slightly drier than normal conditions in the southern mountains.