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El Niño & Old Man Winter Team up to Break Records

el nino

The newest 2015 Winter Outlook and El Niño update is out from NOAA and as earlier predicted, it’s one of the strongest ever.

The current El Niño is a strong one and is forecast to have big impacts this Winter. Mike Halpert, Deputy Director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center gives us their latest thoughts…

“The driver of this years winter outlook is El Nino, the strongest since the 1997/1998 event and arguably among the three strongest since 1950.” Said Deputy Director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, Mike Halpert.

And although sometimes the outcome of strong El Niño’s can sound foreboding, Mike says “El Niño is often a positive for the U.S, contributing to beneficial rain across the south and a milder than average winter in the North.”
3 month precip

temp outlook

And for the winter outlook, beyond the normal precipitation and temperature forecasts, Mike comments on the possibility of severe weather to watch out for this Winter for example, tornadoes…

“Oftentimes the configuration we see in the Jetstream does lead to a severe outbreak or two at some point in the winter. That risk is certainly elevated this year over a typical winter.”

And for the liklihood of flooding and landslides in California, Mike has this caution…

“History has shown with real big El Niño’s, we have seen big storms we’ve seen a lot of landslides and floods. That could be something that turns out this winter that while we are still dealing with severe drought in California we will also be dealing with flooding at the same time. That is certainly not unheard of.

So the takeaway for all of us here? Depending on where we live in this expansive country, we can use this outlook to prepare for what may be a warmer, wetter, colder, dryer than average winter, with a greater possibility of dangerous severe weather in the deep South, and the potential for flooding and landslides in California, even as the drought persists. The big lesson, always stay weather aware!

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For WeatherNation: John Van Pelt.

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