The Climate Prediction Center
issued their February outlook last week
. It calls for a warmer than average month across the South and East, with below average temperatures in the Pacific Northwest. Drier than normal weather is forecast from the Four Corners into the Southeast. The Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and the Northwest will likely see a snowy month with above average precipitation in the forecast.
A persistent La Nina was the driving factor in the forecast
for February and the Climate Prediction Center expects conditions to last for several months
. La Nina occurs when the waters of the Pacific Ocean show a general trend of cooling, the opposite of an El Nino. During La Nina periods, the Jet Stream is not usually active in the Southern U.S. This usually leads to less storms systems and below average precipitation. Cooler than normal weather typically occurs across the northern tier of the country and occasionally wetter periods as well.