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Lock it in folks we are now on track for this to be the biggest El Nino in history and California and the rest of the country may be in for a weird and times wild ride this winter. Expect the unexpected as see all kinds of extreme weather from Flooding in California to record warmth in the Midwest to a massive blizzard late winter in the East.
NEW NOW IN SEPTEMBER
This is not going to be a normal El Nino driven Fall as you can see where we are headed here in September! The cooler El Nino Septembers of 1982 and 1997 are not really the same as what we see the next few months heading into Fall.
We expect the rain to start by the end of October or early November in Southern California and maybe here in September for the Pacific Northwest. It will not be the full month in Washington and Oregon but maybe some spotty relief to the drought and wildfires.
The National Weather Service is on board along with many experts from the Climate Prediction Center and other agencies that an El Nino has begun and will last through the fall and winter. Forecasters currently favor a “strong” El Nino event for the fall and winter. We have not seen all that many Strong El Ninos since the experts starting tracking them in 1950.
ENSO stands for the El Nino Southern Oscillation, in which ocean temperatures and in central and eastern tropical Pacific alternate between warmer and cooler than normal states, El Nino and La Nina, respectively. The toughest part of El Nino forecasting is not the El Nino itself but how strong the El Nino will be come the winter months.
In previous months, the cautious NWS refused to make a forecast for El Nino’s fall and winter intensity, citing a “spring predictability barrier” that it said made strength forecasts unreliable.
Meanwhile, a number of independent forecasters at universities and in the private sector were gung-ho for a strong event or even a historic or “super” El Nino – along the lines of the 1982-1983 and 1997-1998, the strongest on record. We here are Liveweatherblogs and The Weather Pros feel a strong El Nino is a pretty high bet at this point. Super El Nino? We could see that for a period in the fall but it may back off just a little bit at the start of the new year.
Should a strong El Nino materialize, some of the key impacts you’re likely to hear about include:
1) An elevated chance of above normal precipitation in California this winter
2) Increased Pacific hurricane and typhoon activity
3) Decreased Atlantic hurricane activity
4) A mild winter for the northern tier of the U.S.
5) Somewhat less tornado activity in the U.S. compared to average.
So what are the models projecting at this point:
A strong El Nino also means it’s extremely likely 2015 becomes the warmest year on record for the globe given all of the warmth in the Pacific. We’ll take a closer look at what a strong El Nino may portend for the U.S. in future posts.
September 01, 2015 UPDATE
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