Climate pattern La Niña is returning for the second year in a row, bringing with it warmer-than-average temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns for many parts of the U.S. this winter, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.
Forecasters at the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center said La Niña, which brings colder-than-average water to the central Pacific Ocean, could potentially prolong drought conditions in the western half of the country.
The Northern Plains and the Missouri River Basin are forecasted to have a severe to exceptional drought this winter, the NOAA reported. Drought conditions are expected in the Southwest and Southern Plains as well. The outlook also predicted that Southern California, the Southwest, Southeast and south-central Alaska will see less precipitation than average.