3 To Know: 'Triple-dip' La Niña is on the way, more

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La Niña causes the jet stream to move northward and to weaken over the eastern Pacific. During La Niña winters, the South sees warmer and drier conditions than usual. The North and Canada tend to be wetter and colder. Credit: NOAA

1. 'Triple-dip' La Niña is on the way; here's what it means for weather in the US

La Niña just won't go away.

Meteorologists say that for the third straight year, La Niña will persist throughout the winter in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the first "triple-dip" La Niña of the century, according to a recent update from the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization.

This La Niña began in September 2020. 

The La Niña climate pattern is a natural cycle marked by cooler-than-average ocean water in the central Pacific Ocean. It is one of the main drivers of weather in the United States and around the world, especially during late fall, winter and early spring.

It's the opposite to the more well-known El Niño, which occurs when Pacific ocean water is warmer than average. While this would be the first "triple-dip" La Niña this century, it's not unprecedented for the pattern to last more than nine months to a year, which is typical for a La Niña, according to ABC News.

A typical La Niña winter in the U.S. brings cold and snow to the Northwest and unusually dry conditions to most of the southern tier of the U.S., according to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. The Southeast and Mid-Atlantic also tend to see warmer-than-average temperatures during a La Niña winter. 

Meanwhile, New England and the Upper Midwest into New York tend to see colder-than-average temperatures, the Weather Channel said. – Doyle Rice/USA Today

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2. A Virginia man thought he won $600 in a lottery scratch-off. He actually won $1 million.

A Virginia man thought he had won a $600 prize in the state's lottery, only to realize he actually won $1 million. 

Jose Flores Velasquez bought a "20X the Money" scratch-off lottery ticket while picking up soft drinks at a gas station after work. He played the ticket and thought he had won $600, the Virginia Lottery announced last week. 

Velasquez went to Virginia Lottery’s customer service center to cash in the ticket. When he gave it to lottery staff, they noticed the ticket was worth the $1 million grand prize, according to the Virginia Lottery. .   

The Virginia Lottery said there are three $1 million winners in the scratch-off, and the chances of winning it are about 1 in 1.754 million. Velasquez opted for a one-time cash payout of $759,878, before taxes, according to the lottery. 

The store Velasquez bought the ticket from received a $10,000 bonus from the Virginia Lottery for selling the winning ticket, according to the lottery. – Jordan Mendoza/USA Today

New Jersey: Princeton University     • Acceptance rate:  5.6%     • Median SAT score:  1515/1600     • Student-to-faculty ratio:  4:1     • Average net price of attendance:  $18,685     • Location:  Princeton, NJ

3. Princeton announces more full rides to undergraduates

Starting next year, Princeton University will offer full rides to undergraduates from families earning less than $100,000 a year, the Ivy League school announced last week.

Financial assistance is slated to take effect in the fall of 2023 and expected to include about 1,500 students, according to information released Thursday from the school.

In addition to a full ride, the school said it predicts more than a quarter of its undergraduates will also not pay for tuition, room and board.

The university previously gave the same deal to families earning less than $65,000 a year, according to a Princeton news release.

“The improvements continue Princeton’s national leadership in the area of financial aid as families across the income spectrum struggle with rising college costs,” the university wrote in the release.

In 2001, Princeton was the first university in the country to eliminate loans from its financial aid packages, the release continues. Since then, more than 10,000 undergraduates have benefited from the aid program. – Natalie Neysa Alund/USA Today

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