Nearly ten years have passed since then El NiñoA natural tropical Pacific weather and ocean pattern that has been so strong this winter. The last time it really made waves was the cold season of 2015-2016, when the continental United States experienced its warmest winter on record, according to the U.S. Weather Service. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
NOAA scientists looked to previous moderate to strong El Niño winters to try to predict what nature will do in the winter of 2022-2023. That being said, just like no two snowflakes are the same, no two El Niño winters are exactly the same. That being said, strong El Niño years often usher in an era:
The weather in the south is wetter and colder than usual,
Dry and warm weather in the north
That’s exactly what NOAA expects this winter. However, with temperatures consistently above 32 degrees Fahrenheit in many areas, “wetter” doesn’t always mean more snow. Additionally, snowfall amounts can vary significantly even when comparing one city to another within the same state.
To help us all know if we need to dust off our shovels and fuel or recharge our snow blowers, NOAA scientists just released new map Revealing where snow is more or less likely to fall during strong El Niño seasons, including this one. Note: Many factors outside of El Niño, including atmospheric and climate fluctuations, can affect actual snowfall amounts. Additionally, these guides are looking backwards, not forwards, so they cannot be read as predictions of the amount of snow flakes we can expect.
Michelle L’Heureux, one of the two scientists behind the new maps, acknowledged in the report NOAA blog post “El Niño can drive certain climate outcomes, but it doesn’t guarantee them.”
NOAA’s maps are expertly crafted and backed by data.But, like every year’s map old farmer’s almanac, you should not put money (or invest in snow removal tools or personnel) based on the results. These snowfall maps are fun to study and compare to what happens at the end of the season.
In a normal winter (January to March), the jet stream pushing southward also drives storms down. As a result, the northwest and northeastern states are quite dry. Wet and snowy conditions are the norm in the South, especially in the southwestern states.
The stronger the El Niño, the greater the impact on our weather patterns. According to NOAA, these regions and cities are likely to see higher than normal snowfall or rainfall this winter:
At the same time, these areas may notice a drier winter than they have recently:
Only time will tell who will dig out the biggest blast (and enjoy some stunning snowball-like scenery!).
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