Although we are approaching its projected peak, The World Meteorological Organization had many things to say in their November press release about El Niño. One of which is that El Niño will get even stronger before the New Year!
In their press release the weather source claims, “Peak three-month average surface water temperatures in the east-central tropical Pacific Ocean will exceed 2 degrees Celsius above normal, placing this El Niño event among the three strongest since 1950. (Strong previous El Niños were in 1972-73, 1982-83 and 1997-98).”
And that is welcome news for California, which is still in the midst of their worst drought in recorded history but with the onset of an El Niño winter, SNOTEL readings are already indicating that the Sierra mountains are between 190-211% above their normal snowpack. Also, another storm from the Gulf of Alaska is on its way and should impact California during Thanksgiving week!
However, it should be noted that these El Niño predictions are covering a new, climate-change affected landscape. Therefore, certain predictions are going to require certain assumptions. Some of which are turning out to be false. For one, predictions about a dry winter for interior British Columbia and Washington state have been debunked by heavy snowfalls across both locales.
Also, warm temperatures plaguing the southwest have instead been turned cold by Alaskan systems that continue to hammer the western US with large snowfall and below average temps.
Still, with all those caveats included, moisture continues to fall in the Southwest, which is right in line with prior El Niño predictions and with El Niño strengthening, we can expect more rainfall and snow across the forecasted areas of the Southwest.
“El Niño will likely peak during the Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, with a transition to ENSO-neutral anticipated during the late spring or early summer 2016.”– NOAA’s Weeky ENSO Update
So as we approach the New Year, I’m rooting for stronger El Nino conditions, because thus far it’s been nothing but good for the western United States…