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La Niña is the term used to describe cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures across the eastern two-thirds of the tropical Pacific. The more familiar El Niño, refers to warmer than average conditions. Both La Niña and El Niño influence global weather patterns, bringing floods to some and drought to other regions. La Niña conditions will be present during the winter of 2010-11.

Since the early 1950s, twenty cold episodes (La Niña) have been observed during the winter months (December – February). Temperature and precipitation data from 5 climate divisions (OK02, OK04, OK05, OK07 & OK08 cover most of the NWS Norman forecast area) were analyzed to see how La Niña influences the weather across parts of Oklahoma.

Monthly temperatures averaged near normal to above average for practically every event during the month of December, especially the two southern climate divisions. Monthly temperatures for January and February were more fickle, especially February, when very warm and very cold temperatures are more likely to occur.

Precipitation data were ambiguous. However, many of the early episodes (1950-mid 1970s) were generally dry or below average with recent years near normal to above normal, especially during the month of December.

Oklahoma Climate Division Map
Oklahoma Climate Division Map
Source: Oklahoma Climatological Survey

Winter Season Precipitation and Temperature Trends for Oklahoma Climate Division 2

December Precipitation Trend for OK02 during La Niñ Events
December Precipitation Trend
January Precipitation Trend for OK02 during La Niñ Events
January Precipitation Trend
February Precipitation Trend for OK02 during La Niñ Events
February Precipitation Trend
December Temperature Trend for OK02 during La Niñ Events
December Temperature Trend
January Temperature Trend for OK02 during La Niñ Events
January Temperature Trend
February Temperature Trend for OK02 during La Niñ Events
February Temperature Trend

Winter Season Precipitation and Temperature Trends for Oklahoma Climate Division 4

December Precipitation Trend for OK04 during La Niñ Events
December Precipitation Trend
January Precipitation Trend for OK04 during La Niñ Events
January Precipitation Trend
February Precipitation Trend for OK04 during La Niñ Events
February Precipitation Trend
December Temperature Trend for OK04 during La Niñ Events
December Temperature Trend
January Temperature Trend for OK04 during La Niñ Events
January Temperature Trend
February Temperature Trend for OK04 during La Niñ Events
February Temperature Trend

Winter Season Precipitation and Temperature Trends for Oklahoma Climate Division 5

December Precipitation Trend for OK05 during La Niñ Events
December Precipitation Trend
January Precipitation Trend for OK05 during La Niñ Events
January Precipitation Trend
February Precipitation Trend for OK05 during La Niñ Events
February Precipitation Trend
December Temperature Trend for OK05 during La Niñ Events
December Temperature Trend
January Temperature Trend for OK05 during La Niñ Events
January Temperature Trend
February Temperature Trend for OK05 during La Niñ Events
February Temperature Trend

Winter Season Precipitation and Temperature Trends for Oklahoma Climate Division 7

December Precipitation Trend for OK07 during La Niñ Events
December Precipitation Trend
January Precipitation Trend for OK07 during La Niñ Events
January Precipitation Trend
February Precipitation Trend for OK07 during La Niñ Events
February Precipitation Trend
December Temperature Trend for OK07 during La Niñ Events
December Temperature Trend
January Temperature Trend for OK07 during La Niñ Events
January Temperature Trend
February Temperature Trend for OK07 during La Niñ Events
February Temperature Trend

Winter Season Precipitation and Temperature Trends for Oklahoma Climate Division 8

December Precipitation Trend for OK08 during La Niñ Events
December Precipitation Trend
January Precipitation Trend for OK08 during La Niñ Events
January Precipitation Trend
February Precipitation Trend for OK08 during La Niñ Events
February Precipitation Trend
December Temperature Trend for OK08 during La Niñ Events
December Temperature Trend
January Temperature Trend for OK08 during La Niñ Events
January Temperature Trend
February Temperature Trend for OK08 during La Niñ Events
February Temperature Trend