Brad Pugh, Meteorologist, Climate Prediction Center
Meteorologists and agronomists are cautiously optimistic a shift from La Nina to a neutral El Nino-Southern Oscillation-neutral (ENSO-neutral) will occur between now and May. This means El Nino nor La Nina weather patterns will be in play.
Brad Pugh, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), works at its Climate Prediction Center. He’s part of a nationwide team with expertise in meteorology and climatology who study weather and work with highly skilled computer programmers to make accurate short- and long-term forecasts using observations and physical equations. He’s also one of the authors of the U.S. Drought Monitor.
“At the Climate Prediction Center, our focus includes predictions from two weeks in advance, through the next month and for the season,” Pugh says. “We’re on our third winter of La Nina now, but there are signs it is weakening and we expect an end to it over the next few months, along with a transition to ENSO-neutral conditions during the next three months.
“However, there tends to be a lag in the atmospheric response, so even though we expect an end to La Nina relatively soon, typical weather patterns associated with it may continue into spring,” he adds. “For example, during a La Nina, we generally see a wet spring across the Ohio Valley, so we’re currently favoring above-normal precipitation for it and the Corn Belt this spring.”
Pugh predicts February, March and April will bring colder-than-normal temperatures to the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies and northern plains. The Southwest and southern plains will likely experience above-normal temperatures.