Does all this snow and cold we're experiencing actually mean there's an increased chance for severe thunderstorms by late spring? Meteorologists from AccuWeather believe so.

Now didn't they just say the Northeast might not see warmer spring-like weather for quite a while? Yes. But a late start to spring has meant an increased chance for severe thunderstorms, and even tornadoes, by later in the season before. One of the reasons is La Niña. 

A La Niña is a phenomenon that produces cooler than average water temperatures in tropical Pacific Ocean. This affects air currents and atmospheric conditions around the globe for months. Sometimes, the effects can be quite long-lasting and severe. La Niñas can lead to snowier than usual winters across the northern U.S. They can also mean stormier spring and early summer weather as well. The last one we experienced was in winter of 2017-18. It is not to be confused with El Niño, which is where warmer water temperatures occur in that part of the world.

The bitter cold we're seeing across most areas of the nation will eventually clash with warmer and more humid air moving up from the south. AccuWeather says by May the jet stream will move further and further north, and then high pressure will build over the center of the country. This where strong cold fronts and severe weather form in the spring and move east. AccuWeather says that areas of the Northeast could be a target for severe weather by then, as the storms gain strength when they move into areas of clashing air masses.

As always, long-range forecasts aren't one hundred percent accurate. Some meteorologists has initially said this current La Niña was fairly weak, and wouldn't last as long as stronger ones from the past. But a number of forecasters have recently compared it to the La Niña of 2011, a year that brought a record number of severe weather reports and tornadoes across many areas of the country.

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