Who Will Get Snow This Winter If There Is A La Niña?

Who Will Get Snow This Winter If There Is A La Niña?

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Who Will Get Snow This Winter If There Is A La Niña?


Need something to cool down during these dog days of summer? NOAA is currently giving La Niña a 50-55% chance of occurring this winter. Which means some regions might have cold, snowy weather on the way.

How will La Niña effect your region?

Let’s make some guesses on who will win and lose if a La Niña system develops this winter.

A typical La Niña Pattern


The Pacific Northwest: The PNW is in a prime condition for a year of heavy snowfall. La Niña typically brings colder and wetter conditions to this region. Mt. Baker, WA recorded an astounding 1,140 inches (95 feet) when La Niña hit during the 1998-199 season. Could we see another record-breaking year…?

The snow was DEEP in this photo from Mt. Baker in 1999. Courtesy: Mike Alger

Canadian Rockies: The Canadian Rockies should experience colder than normal temps in a La Niña pattern. I’m sure that resorts like Whistler and Revelstoke will rejoice. Both resorts reported below-average snowfall totals for the 19-20′ season.

Alaska: This might be the year to splurge and book that Alaskan-heli trip you’ve been saving for. While snow is typically reliable in Alaska, a La Niña system bodes well for the area. We should expect to see colder than normal temps, and more snowfall like the Canadian Rockies.

Heli Skiing Alaska - Points North Heli-Adventures, Inc.

Courtesy: Alaska Heli Ski


Arizona, New Mexico, Southern California: La Niña provides the opposite effect of El Niño to the Southeast. These areas should expect a drier and warmer winter season. For context: Taos, NM only totaled 116 inches of snow during the La Nina season of 2011-2012. The resort typically averages 300 inches per year.

Spring Break - Raft & Ski | Taos Ski Valley

You can guarantee on sun at Taos Ski Valley, no matter the season. Courtesy: Taos Ski Valley


Colorado: Models suggest uncertainty for Colorado. Some La Niña’s will bringer drier weather, while others will create a near-normal weather pattern for “The Centennial State”. My *uneducated* guess is that Colorado will see near-average temps and snowfall. Guess we’ll see!

Utah: Utah falls in the same boat as Colorado. While snowfall can almost be guaranteed in The Cottonwood Canyons, could Utah see another drought year? It’s hard to say. The last time a “Strong La Niña” occurred dumped a record 783 inches of snow on Snowbird during the 2010-2011 season. Snowbird also recorded one of it’s worst snow years with 390 inches during the La Nina season of 2017-2018.

4th of July skiing at Snowbird

There was plenty of snow left at Snowbird on July 4th, 2011. Courtesy: Utah Outside

The Northeast: Again, this area is a toss-up. La Niña typically brings colder and wetter weather to the Northeast due to a lower jet stream. However, warm weather that is expected in the South could cause rain occurrences throughout New England. Shouldn’t be a problem either way for those East Coasters. They’ll ski anything that’s frozen!

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