As we talk about blazing heat across the U.S. in the midst of summer, it is hard to imagine that in a few short months some of us will be digging out of snow piles and salting our icy sidewalks. But many are already asking, “Will it be a brutal winter again like last year?” Most of the Eastern U.S. had record cold and record snow in 2013-14. With that said, it is only July and as we look out more than ten or 12 days, we need to remember that the atmosphere is in a constant state of chaos (complete disorder and confusion). Temperature, pressure, wind direction/speed, topography, geography, ocean/surface temperature, cloud cover and moisture are all things that must be factored into making a weather forecast – just to name a few! Not to mention; all variables must be considered at different levels of the atmosphere and across the globe. This makes it very difficult to forecast for a time period three to four months ahead.
So what does that mean for our winter here in the U.S.? Typically during an El Nino year it means a warmer drier winter to the North and a cooler but wetter winter for the Southern States. For Southern California, it could mean beneficial rain for an area suffering from extreme drought.
But here is what we know: in March of 2015 NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center issued an El Nino advisory. What is El Nino? El Nino is a phenomenon when warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures are present in the central Pacific Ocean near the equator. At this time in March there was a 50% chance that the El Nino conditions would continue through summer. As we head into the middle of summer, a moderate El Nino exists and it is looking to intensify as we progress through the later part of the year. As we look out, nearly all weather models are indicating that El Nino will continue through the Northern Hemisphere during the winter of 2015-16. It also has an 80% chance to last into Spring of 2016. This season we are setting up for one of the strongest El Nino on record.
Meteorologist Tracey Anthony