La Nina Persisting, More Cold Air Expected

Sea-surface temperatures across the central and eastern Equatorial Pacific Ocean continue to run below average, which indicates that the La Nina phase is persisting. The latest long-range climate models still suggest that this La Nina will remain in place through the winter season and possibly into early spring with weakening to a neutral phase projected by mid-to-late spring.

As a result, at least slightly below normal temperatures are forecast across much of the Midwest, western Great Lakes, and north-central Plains in February. Parts of the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest are also expected to see slightly colder than average conditions during the month of February.

A surplus of total monthly heating degree days of between 20 and 60 is predicted across these regions of the United States. Energy costs with respect to heating will also be higher than average throughout these areas of the country. It should be noted that parts of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Deep South, and Southeast could also see some colder periods in February, especially if the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) becomes negative, which is a possible scenario.

At this time, it looks as if the only parts of the United States that may see slightly above normal temperatures are across portions of the Desert Southwest and southern Rockies. A small deficit of monthly heating degree days is projected across these regions of the country.

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