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What an El Niño Fall/Winter Could Look Like
August 4, 2015

MDA Weather Services has joined the growing chorus of meteorologists who say the current El Niño should be considered “strong” and likely has staying power into 2016. Bob Haas, manager of energy weather services at MDA, says forecast models agree that this El Niño should strengthen into the fall and winter months.

“Of the 24 available ENSO models, 18 show a strong event in the fall season from September to November, with eight as high as or higher than the strongest El Niño on record, from 1997,” he says.Meantime, for the winter months of December through February, 14 out of 20 modes show El Niño persisting as a strong event, Haas says.

“Even the weakest of models still project weak El Niño conditions for the fall and winter seasons,” he says.

So what can the U.S. expect in terms of fall and winter weather? Generally speaking, MDA says strong El Niño conditions that during fall and winter months typically deliver the following type of weather:

September to November

  • Colder than normal in the Midwest and Eastern U.S.
  • Seasonal temperatures in the West and South
  • Wetter-than-normal conditions in California and the Southwest
  • Drier-than-normal conditions in the Northwest and Texas

December to February

  • Expansive warmer-than-normal conditions across the northern U.S.
  • Seasonal or colder-than-normal conditions in the Gulf Coast states
  • Wetter-than-normal conditions in the West Coast, East Coast and across the South
  • Drier-than-normal conditions in the Ohio Valley

When El Niño conditions are strong, they tend to override other atmospheric signals and drive global temperature and precipitation patterns, Haas says. The current El Niño event has the potential to match or exceed the 1997-98 event, he says.

By Ben Potter, AgWeb Social Media & Innovations Editor



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