El Niño Update: Moderate to Strong by Winter 2009/2010

It’s been a while since I’ve commented on the El Niño brewing in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and figured it’d be a good time to give a brief update on it’s strength and position. The NOAA gave an update on the strength of the El Niño on September 10th and had this to say about it:

“A majority of the model forecasts…suggest El Niño will reach at least moderate strength during the Northern Hemisphere fall …Many model forecasts even suggest a strong El Niño…during the fall and winter, but current observations and trends indicate that El Niño will most likely peak at moderate strength. “

This is pretty obvious when we look at the latest sea surface temperature map which was updated today. The El Niño along the equtaor is glowing!:


Certainly not encouraging news for those hoping for a stellar ski/snow season but we must also remember the PDO and solar cycles also play a big part in the weather here and sometimes El Niño or even La Niña doesn’t act it’s typical way because the atmosphere just isn’t supporting it.

The winter of 1968-1969 featured the snowiest winter on record in the Seattle area with 60”+ of snow by the end of the season. To put that in perspective, imagine last winter times two. Why am I talking about that winter? Because it too was a moderate, west-based El Niño and that season wasn’t supposed to be as good as it was. But the PDO was just negative enough to give the Pacific Northwest a fighting chance.

IF this El Niño acts it’s typical way, we can expect a very dry and mild winter ahead with very little snow and a disappointing 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. But there are still signs that this winter will not be a typical El Niño winter, just like 2006-2007 wasn’t.

Stay tuned for more El Niño updates…for the short term, we can expect sunnier and warmer weather tomorrow (today’s forecast flopped! Sorry about that!) with more seasonable weather throughout the week and cooler weather arriving by this weekend.

Are the 80s gone for good? Maybe…but maybe not. If 80s do return, we can’t blame it on El Niño because it has very little effect on fall weather patterns around here!

Have a great day,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? Contact me at: forecastingkitsap@live.com



37 thoughts on “El Niño Update: Moderate to Strong by Winter 2009/2010

  1. well it will be a very fun forecasting for people who do forecast

    so 1968-69 year was a weak moderate elnino like this year and is there a -PDO this year

  2. I sure hope this year will be a fun year to forecast! If the El Nino strengthens, it could be a VERY boring year for weather enthusiasts. We’ll see!

    1968-1969 featured a moderate El Nino, but I’m not sure what the PDO level was back then. Right now it’s negative though, so that’s good news!

  3. Well we just had some cooler weather move into Florida. The entire South and Southwest had some VERY hot weather this summer. Not to mention 100 degree temps in Seattle in August … Any winter temps are welcome 🙂

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