An August El Niño?

October 13, 2016
Rain Over Ocean

Today’s blog will be short and sweet. Do you want cooler temperatures and more rain? It may be coming.

The models at the National Center for Environmental Prediction forecast an El Niño will arrive next month. When one looks at the different agencies around the world, the ones with the models that have been most accurate show an El Niño starting in August.

When the Tropical Pacific heats up and becomes an El Niño, it changes weather around the world. Source: NASA

What does this mean?

Globally, it means that the Tropical Pacific will have a huge area warm up. When the waters are roughly one degree warmer (actually 0.5˚ C for our Canadian readers), they heat the tropical air mass overhead. This changes air pressure and tropical winds. The result changes temperatures and precipitation around the globe.

If an El Niño starts in mid-summer, it typically brings more rain and cooler temperatures to large portions of the nation. Source: US Climate Prediction Center

Here in the US, it typically means normal temperatures east of the Rockies and rain in the central part of the country. Unfortunately, it doesn’t bring much rain to the Southeast in the summer, but it usually means a wet winter.  

El Niños also have the pleasant benefit of reducing the number of Atlantic hurricanes. They create high-level winds that usually sheer off the tops of developing tropical storms. They also tend to steer storms away from the Western Gulf, which is good news for Texas beaches.

Remember, each El Niño has its own weird personality. The cooling of the El Niño will be battling the influence of the hot Atlantic waters off the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.  

Overall, it looks like August may see better weather. That’s short and sweet.

About This Blog

Are you a weather watcher? Welcome to “Weather Whispers” by James Garriss and until recently, Evelyn Browning Garriss. With expertise and humor, this column covers everything weather—from weather forecasts to WHY extreme weather happens to ways that weather affects your life from farming to your grocery bill. Enjoy weather facts, folklore, and fun!

With heavy hearts, we share the news that historical climatologist and immensely entertaining Almanac contributor Evelyn Browning Garriss passed away in late June 2017. Evelyn shared her lifetime of weather knowledge with Almanac editors and readers, explaining weather phenomena in conversation and expounding on topics in articles for the print edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac as well as in these articles. We were honored to know and work with her as her time allowed, which is to say when she was not giving lectures to, writing articles for, and consulting with scientists, academia, investors, and government agencies around the world. She will be greatly missed by the Almanac staff and readers.