El Nino is a climate phenomenon that occurs every 2 to 7 years, and causes Pacific sea surface temperatures to warm up. As trade winds shift and conditions change, they create a domino effect that leads to disruptive weather events across the globe. Naturally, an El Nino will have an impact on winter weather.
How will it impact the 2015-2016 snow season?
According to the NOAA, this year’s El Nino is one of the strongest on record, and will likely impact the Pacific jet stream’s position.
The organization predicts the following for the winter season:
- Conditions will be wetter than average in the southern portion of the United States, from southern and central California to Texas, Florida and all the way up the East Coast to some parts of New England. The southeastern portion of Alaska will also see more precipitation than normal.
- Hawaii and some areas of Alaska will likely see drier than average conditions as well as the Pacific Northwest, the Ohio Valley, areas near the Great Lakes, and the northern Rockies.
- Most of the northern and western parts of the country will see above average temperatures during winter. Alaska and Hawaii will also see higher than average temperatures.
- The Southeast and the southern Plains will likely see colder than average temperatures.
Simply put, an El Nino typically leads to milder winters for most of the country, particularly northern states. With that said, it’s important to remember that other factors will also affect winter weather.
December – January Snow Patterns
It was predicted that the El Nino would cause a mild start to the winter, and these predictions have come true. Meteorologists expect December and January to be mild with minimal snowfall. The majority the country will see above average temperatures.
But these conditions won’t last all throughout the season.
Late Winter Snow Patterns
Later on in the season, particularly during February, classic winter weather patterns will emerge over the eastern portion of the country. During this time, several winter storms may impact the Northeast and the Central Plains. There will also be a higher-than-average risk for significant snow in the deep South.
While we may be experiencing mild weather right now, expect classic winter weather to emerge later in the season. Be sure to prepare for the winter weather now, so you’re ready for dipping temperatures and wet winter weather.
Winter Weather & Ice Dam Prevention
Just because the winter may be milder due to El Nino, doesn’t mean that hazardous and damaging ice dams won’t form on your roof. To learn more about permanent solutions to prevent ice dams, contact HotEdge at (800) 411-3296 today. We are your roof ice melt system experts!