La Niña II: The Return of the Foul-Weather Friend

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La Niña, the pesky weather pattern that wreaked havoc on the South and East last winter, is back for an encore. Meteorologists in the National Weather Service are warning Americans to expect more of the same from the little girl, which means preparing for a mild, if somewhat manic, winter. Unlike El Niño, which results from a warming of ocean waters and inverts normal weather patterns, La Niña produces weather as usual — only more so, which means people in Seattle better lay in an extra supply of raincoats.

Luckily, says TIME senior science correspondent J. Madeline Nash, they will have plenty of time to prepare: "The computer climate models are getting pretty good about predicting how long particular conditions are likely to last over the next six to nine months."