El Nino Developing
We are continuing to keep an eye on water temperatures in the subtropical Pacific as indications continue to suggest the development of an El Nino this summer and fall season and perhaps into the beginning of the winter season.
Over this past winter a very weak El Nino was in place. The type of El Nino this past winter and spring is called a Modoki El Nino. The subtropical waters just north and south of the equator this past winter and spring were slightly above normal, just enough to fit into a weak El Nino category.
Some of the enhanced rainfall in the Rockies, Northern Plains and the very heavy rains in the Southern Plains can be attributed to the warmer subtropical waters in the Modoki El Nino this spring season.
The warmer than normal water temperatures can help enhance the amount of water vapor moving into the southern and central areas of the United States and in turn can increase the probability for rainfall.
The chart below shows computer modeling projecting the strength of the developing El Nino over the coming months.
All the modeling suggests that the key areas of the Pacific will be warmer than normal this summer and into the fall below water temperatures begin to cool by December or January. It looks to be a foregone conclusion that an El Nino will indeed develop. This is likely going to be the strongest El Nino since 2009.
The development of a stronger El Nino this year and into the early winter season could mean a much better chance for the drought stricken areas of the California to receive much needed rainfall and Sierra snows this fall and winter season.
Some our long range analysis is already detecting the increased chance for enhanced rainfall in California and portions of the Southwest as you can see below.
The green shading along the west coast of the United States stretching east across the southern states indicates a good chance for above normal precipitation. The graphic illustrates a classic El Nino precipitation pattern.