Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

La Nina Packing No Snow Punch.(Final)

Byline: John Fleck Journal Staff Writer

Pattern Forecasts A Dry Winter

La Nina, the drought maker, is looming.

The Pacific Ocean pattern, which often brings dry Southwestern weather, appears to be coming in a hurry, according to a forecast issued Monday.

"From our way of looking at things, it's almost imminent," said Vernon Kousky, a forecaster at the federal Climate Prediction Center in Maryland.

Kousky's forecast calls La Nina "likely" -- a strong word from the traditionally cautious federal climate forecasting agency.

The effect on summer rain is unclear, but if the pattern holds, New Mexico could be in for a tough winter of 2003-2004, when the region's critical snowpack is formed. …

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