El Nino reaches maturity

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The latest report from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration on El Nino shows that the climate phenomenon has reached the mature stage will linger through the end of Spring.

The mature stage is marked by sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean being greater than 2 degrees F above average for several months in a row. With December maintaining those above average temperatures for the sea surface, the forecasters say the climatic center has reached maturity. Once that occurs, it usually triggers changes in atmospheric and weather conditions around the globe. 

Although the forecasters say this El Nino will remain weaker than the one that visited in 1997-98 it will still alter some normal weather patterns. Here’s what the NOAA forecasters predict through March:

  • Drier than average conditions for the Ohio Valley and northern Rockies.
  • Wetter than average conditions along much of the southern tier states and into parts of the Midwest.
  • Warmer than average temperatures across the northern tier states, and southern Alaska.
  • California will be both warmer than average and wetter than average.

Although El Nino has already led to much-needed rain along the Gulf Coast and Eastern seaboard many areas of the country remain parched.

Little improvement in drought conditions have been seen in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. While Colorado has received some early-season snows, much more is needed to help alleviate drought conditions.

Below normal rain and snow in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and parts of Missouri and Kansas has done little to help drought conditions there. In fact, drought conditions could expand both northward and southward in the coming months.

To view the latest outlook map, click here.

National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration



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