INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana residents who slogged through last year’s icy,
snowy winter may be in store for a repeat of that icy blast in the coming
months if forecasters tracking global weather patterns are correct.
Associate state climatologist Ken Scheeringa said meteorologists expect the
periodic cooling of the central Pacific Ocean that’s known as La Nina to
return and bring another severe winter to Indiana and the rest of the
Last year, La Nina combined with a warming of the ocean around Iceland and
Greenland called the North Atlantic Oscillation to make Indiana’s winter
particularly long and cold.
Scheeringa tells The Indianapolis Star that although it’s still unclear, it
appears those two weather patterns may both occur again this winter,
delivering an extra brutal winter blast.
“When they join forces, they make us very miserable,” said Scheeringa, who
works with the Indiana State Climate Office.
He said the North Atlantic warming is hard to predict, but if it does return
forecasters will see evidence of it in the next couple of months.
If so, he said Indiana residents would face an even more severe winter of
biting cold, freezing rain, snow and perhaps even a blizzard like the one
that hit central Indiana in February.
Michael Koch, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Indianapolis,
said he also sees the La Nina pattern playing a major role in the forecast
for the state again this winter, driving storm systems — and above-normal
precipitation — farther north into Indiana.
The La Nina weather pattern utilizes the jet stream to power north, he said.
Two winters ago, Indiana was affected by El Niño, in which the central
Pacific Ocean warms at least 1 degree above normal. That brought the state a
milder winter, as might be expected by that temperature fluctuation in the
central area of the Pacific, he said.