If you enjoyed last winter here in the Golden Triangle, the Puffman Blog has some "good"(?) news for you today. La Nina, the main factor responsible for all the cold and snow last year, is back! According to the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center, La Nina conditions have returned and are expected to slowly strengthen and continue throughout the winter months. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration defines a La Nina as a period of cooler-than-normal sea-surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific ocean, caused when cold water from deep in the ocean wells up to the surface. The ocean?! If this doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense to you, I suggest you check out the movie "The Butterfly Effect". Nick Langlieb is a meteorologist at the National Weather Service down in Great Falls and he says they use multiple models to determine whether conditions in the tropical Pacific are neutral or trending toward either an El Nino or a La Nina event. Nick says "right now almost all the models are showing a weak La Nina and that increases our chances for a wetter, colder winter but there are other factors which also influence Montana's weather. Factors such as the Arctic oscillation and the North Pacific oscillation- all of these impact our weather. At this point it's too soon to say how all these factors will combine. About all we can say for sure is that we have a better chance for another cold, wet winter than not". If you don't understand "oscillation", I suggest you sit by an oscillating fan while you're watching "The Butterfly Effect". Bottom line here, Nick says about all he can say for sure is that we have a better chance for another cold, wet winter than not. I'll talk more about the weather this afternoon (Thursday) on the Puffman Show. I might bring it up when I talk to the Gabby Cabby at 4:35 today. El Nino...La Nina...sounds like some items on the menu down at South of the Border!