La Niña is associated with unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific. These ocean temperatures impact temperatures globally for up to two years. During a La Niña, the easterly trade winds are stronger than normal, allowing colder water to upwell along the equator and western coast of South America. These colder water temperatures can be as much as 7 degrees F below normal.
In the U.S., La Niña causes drier than normal conditions in the Southwest, Central Plains, and Southeast; and wetter, cooler conditions in the Pacific Northwest. In our area, we hear news reports about places less than one hundred miles to the north that are receiving wonderful snowfall. But we are just far enough below the invisible line that we aren't benefiting from an excess of precipitation. We've been dry for the last couple of years, so it's not great to be getting a La Niña.
La Niña is part of a natural cycle, alternating with neutral conditions and El Niño, when the ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific are warmer than normal. During El Niño years, climate is often the reverse of La Niña conditions.
So I guess we'll just have to do the best we can for now and hope that this La Niña will be weak and soon end. The intensity of La Niña and El Niño events can vary a great deal. If you'd like to learn more about this weather phenomenon, check out the NOAA website.