October 15, 2015
Ken Scheeringa says it's worth taking a look at what the National Weather Service says about the El Nino trend still building in the tropical Pacific Ocean. After checking out the reports for ourselves, we agree. It could be a clue to what type of winter we will see in Indiana.
NWS currently is forecasting this El Nino to wind up similar in strength to two previous strong El Nino events, one in 1982 and one in 1997. Both produced relatively mild winters. You can check out these images for yourself online.
Tough year for snow lovers? If the NWS forecast about a strong El Nino is right, there may be less snow this winter in Indiana. But then again, remember this is about weathermen forecasting three months out!
If the long-term forecasters are right, you may not want to rush out and buy sun tan lotion, but you may not need to invest in super-heavy winter coats either. If you've got a snow blower or snowmobile to sell, you might want to do it now. If you're in the market to buy one or both, maybe you can wait for bargains once winter reveals there won't be a lot of snow.
It's a weather fact backed by data that during most El Nino winters, Indiana sees higher than normal temperatures and lower than normal precipitation. That typically results in fewer snow events, and lower snowfall totals. Typically the snowfall totals are less than normal for any one part of the state.
Before you book reservations on the Dunes on Lake Michigan in northern Indiana for your Christmas Holiday, you might consider this: NWS added a disclaimer in fine print in their most recent report on the El Nino situation.
While this current El Nino may be as strong or stronger than the previous two strongest El Ninos since 1950, mentioned above, there is a difference. This one also features warmer sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean farther north than is typically seen.
Some people who make a living studying these types of things say we had similar conditions in those areas over the past two winters, which provided plenty of cold, snowy weather. We didn't have the typical El Nino in tropical waters to go with it.
So will the warmer waters farther north than usual offset the El Nino? No clue! That's why Mother Nature is still Mother Nature, despite all the modern technology we have.
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