The La Nina phase that has been in place for most of 2010’s latter half persists. This is evident by sea-surface temperatures averaging between 1 and 2 degrees cooler than normal across much of the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. Right now, long-range climate models indicate this current La Nina will remain through at least spring.
When a La Nina of this strength is in place, warmer than average January temperatures are likely across portions of the Midwest, southern plains, Tennessee Valley and lower Mississippi Valley. Total heating degree-days are forecasted to be lower by between 30 and 90 during the month. This is expected to result in slightly lower heating costs across these areas.
Cooler than average temperatures are projected across parts of the northern plains, northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest. These regions will see a surplus in heating degree-days and slightly higher January heating costs. Some climate indices, such as the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation), suggest colder than average January temperatures might be felt across interior sections of New England. Total heating degree-days might exceed normal values by between 30 and 60 across this part of country.