The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says a weak to moderate La Nina continues to be recorded, and based on past events, it expects La Nina to linger into early spring.
"A majority of models predict a weak or moderate strength La Nina to peak during the December – February season, and then to continue into early Northern Hemisphere spring season before dissipating during the March to May period," it states. "A slight majority of models predict La Nina to remain weak (3-month average SST anomaly in the Nino-3.4 region between -0.5 and -0.9oC) this winter, while several others predict a moderate-strength episode (anomaly in the Nino-3.4 region between -1.0 and -1.4oC). The latest observations, combined with model forecasts, suggest that La Nina will be of weak-to-moderate strength this winter, and will continue thereafter as a weak event until it likely dissipates sometime between March and May."
Based on the La Nina observations, NOAA says during January - March 2012, there is an increased chance of above-average temperatures across the south-central and southeastern U.S., and below-average temperatures over the western and the northwest-central U.S. Also, above-average precipitation is favored across most of the northern tier of states and in the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, and drier-than-average conditions are more likely across the southern tier of the U.S.," it states.