A strong El Nino, characterized by warm water in the central and east-central Pacific Ocean, is expected to start this fall and may extend into next spring.
National Weather Service meteorologist Wes Browning explains what that could mean for us: “The affects of El Nino are always a little bit tricky to forecast, especially in the Midwest,” Browning says. “Typically, we’ll be much more likely to have a warmer-than-normal winter with fewer very cold Arctic outbreaks. Precipitation should be about normal.”
Elsewhere, Browning expects drier-than-normal conditions in the north near the Canadian border and very hazardous weather from southern California to the Gulf coast, areas which have been plagued with rampaging wildfires for many weeks.
Browning says the Midwest overall is likely to have warmer-than-normal temperatures during the winter ahead.
“For the Midwest, the affects usually aren’t that dramatic,” he says. “Normally, when we get a strong El Nino, the odds are that we will have fewer very intense Arctic outbreaks, but as far as precipitation, it doesn’t have much affect at all.”
Browning say the El Nino pattern is expected to start this fall and could continue through spring.
Fall arrives next week and Browning says the strong warm-weather phase could arrive in a matter of several weeks, as the El Nino develops.
“Normally, a strong El Nino will last through the winter and on into the early spring before it starts to diminish,” he says.
Fall arrives September 23rd.