NOAA Has Issued An El Nino Watch: What It Means For North Dakota
NOAA has issued an El Nino Watch starting this summer and for the rest of 2023.
I know what you are thinking. What does that mean for us in North Dakota? More on that in a minute.
Before we get to that, you might be wondering what is the difference between El Nino and La Nina? La Nina is the weather pattern we've seen the last 3 years over North Dakota and the United States for that matter.
El Nino is when the waters of the central and eastern Pacific waters warm.
The La Nina weather pattern has the opposite effect. The El Nino weather pattern does not usually affect the spring and fall seasons in North Dakota. However, it does tend to play a big role in our winter season. How much? The stronger the El Nino, the more likely it is to affect our winter.
According to the National Weather Service in Bismarck, you can expect our temperatures in the winter to be warmer to a lot warmer. During a typical winter, the jetstream tends to dip south into the United States bringing with it plenty of cold air.
During an El Nino winter, the jet stream tends to stay up in Canada for a good share of the winter. Leading to warmer temperatures and fewer cold outbreaks. Cold winters during an El Nino period are pretty rare.
After the last couple of winters we've had in North Dakota, a warmer-than-average winter sounds pretty good to me.
How about precipitation during an El Nino period?
Plain and simple. It means less snow for North Dakota. On average 3 to 6 inches during a typical season. That may not sound like a lot but as you know it all adds up.
Again, El Nino doesn't typically affect our summer and fall weather patterns so this doesn't necessarily mean we are going into a dry period this spring and summer.
Here's a video on El Nino from the National Weather Service in North Dakota.
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