El Nino Is Really Happening.

Winter Temperature Outlook | Image by NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Centers for Environmental prediction (NCEP) computer models have been working overtime to determine what our Winter will look like. If you remember, I posted an article about the prediction of the El Nino event occurring this Winter. In that article “El Nino Is Growing Stronger. What Does It Mean For Us?” The computers were leaning toward an El Nino event ahead. Now the latest data proves that prediction is still valid as the title of this article suggests. Let’s take a look at the new information and see what it says.

Winter Temperature Outlook | Image by NOAA
Winter Temperature Outlook | Image by NOAA

First let’s check out the latest temperature prediction model. According to NCEP “Above-average temperatures are favored across much of the West and the northern half of the contiguous United States. Temperatures are also favored to be above average in Alaska and much of Hawaii. Below average temperatures are are most likely in the southern Plains and Southeast.”

Winter Precipitation Outlook | Image by NOAA
Winter Precipitation Outlook | Image by NOAA

NCEP says this about the precipitation for the three-month period “Wetter-than-average conditions most likely in the Southern Tier of the United States from central and southern California, across Texas, to Florida, and up the East Coast to southern New England. Above-average precipitation is also favored in southeastern Alaska.” Now the dry side of this forecast: “Drier-than-average most likely for Hawaii, parts of the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies, and for areas near the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.” Take a look at the map  above and you will see that we are in an area that has even chances (50/50) of having a wetter than normal or drier than normal Winter. We are very near the slightly drier-than-normal line so it could go either way. That could, and I emphasize could, mean we could see a Winter with more normal amounts of precipitation than we did last winter. The big problem will be whether it is going to get cold enough to produce a better snowfall in the mountains.

Winter Season Drought Outlook | Image by
Winter Season Drought Outlook | Image by NCEP Prediction Center

We had been hoping that the National Drought Outlook would give some indication that the drought conditions in the West would improve, but that is not what the computer models are predicting. According to this model the drought for the Pacific Northwest will stay the same or intensify over the period lasting through January. Central and Southern California will see some improvement in drought conditions with an increase in rainfall expected, but it won’t be enough to remove the official drought designation. The state of Texas should see drought relief, but the recent heavy rainfall in Texas from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia won’t really help much. The ground there was very dry and compacted so heavy rainfall would not soak in, but instead would cause flooding and continue moving until blocked by some impediment.

I really do hope, along with the people of the Willamette Valley and all of Oregon, that these predictions are proven to be less-than-accurate. I’ll keep you updated as our Winter season gets underway. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].




Tim Chuey is a Member of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association and has been Awarded Seals of Approval for television weathercasting from both organizations.

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