By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
Despite a pair of winter storms in the final week of 2020, forecasters still predict a drier and warmer than normal weather pattern in early 2021.
A La Niña event is likely to influence weather conditions across the globe this winter. La Niña, the cooling of sea-surface temperatures in the western Pacific, is typically associated with warmer-than-average conditions for parts of the U.S. in January and February, especially in the Midwest and Southern regions this year.
National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Barjenbruch says it’s also been drier than normal over the last few months.
"We've definitely had some periods of time this past fall that have been well above normal (temperature wise)," Barjenbruch said. "We had a few cooler days, but for the most part, that drought has held on or even intensified almost across the entire region over the last 3-5 months."
The latest U.S. drought monitor put out by the University of Nebraska shows most of eastern Kansas and northwest Missouri in a moderate drought.
Barjenbruch says even with a mild and dry long-term forecast, more winter storms are still certainly possible.
"That tends to be the trend we see with (La Niñas)," Barjenbruch said. "That's not to say we won't have some snows, or even some heavy snows. But, the general pattern does favor a little bit warmer and a little bit drier than normal."
Temperatures across the Midwest and Central Plains are expected to be “much above average” through March, according to Weather.com.