US to have an El Niño winter: What does that mean?
During an El Niño event, the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean becomes warmer than usual, meaning milder temperatures and more rain.
Meteorologists are expecting a warm winter to follow another summer which inflicted wildfires and drought. This is called an El Niño winter and it is part of thee El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon.
This weather pattern means to milder temperatures, particularly in the northern states, as well as in the northern parts of the southern states. This is caused by warmer-than-usual water in the Pacific Sea on the Equator.
Understanding what an El Niño winter entails can help communities and individuals prepare for the season.
What weather does El Niño cause?
Apart from the warmer weather, there are other effects. Snowfall will be reduced in the northern states and a higher chance of rain, rain which is mirrored in the southern United States, including the Gulf Coast states and the Southeast. This can be beneficial for replenishing water reserves that dried up in the summer but can also lead to a higher risk of flooding in regions with poor drainage systems.
The West Coast of the United States experiences varying effects during El Niño winters. Southern California, for example, often receives increased rainfall during these events, which can help alleviate drought conditions. Conversely, the Pacific Northwest might experience drier and milder conditions, affecting water supply and ecosystems.