‘El Nino’ weather conditions die, neutral conditions on the rise

Good afternoon!

Have you ever watched a great movie or television show and your favorite character gets killed off? You know it’s a movie, but in watching it you actually feel something for the characters involved. My brother-in-law and I were finishing some episodes of The Walking Dead on Netflix and a character I had grown to really like got…well…devoured by zombies. As infuriating as that was, I had to remind myself that it’s JUST a movie.

However, I woke up this morning to find a headline that kills off a character I didn’t care so much for: EL NINO. And luckily this time, we’re not in a movie. Although this weather pattern will likely resurrect at some point and devour every skier and snowboarder’s dreams of a winter wonderland like a flesh-eating zombie, at least for now we could be in the clear.

Sea Surface Temperatures have not been nice to the El Nino and now we are looking at a period of cooling taking the place of previous warming in the Pacific. Now, we are not headed towards a La Nina as of yet, but one thing looks for sure: El Nino will play a minimal role in our winter, if any.

This of course makes the winter forecast a lot more difficult to predict. Neutral winters are termed as “wildcard winters” and there is really no indication either way of what to expect throughout the winter. The plus side is, it doesn’t look likely we’ll stay in a persistent ridge and consequent drought for the next six months. If anything, there are signs this sunny weather pattern will break down towards the middle of the month.

For now, the current sea surface conditions have little to do with the weather pattern we’re experiencing now. I think for most of us, 70+ days of no precipitation is more than just an El Nino-ish signal, it’s the longest streak of dry weather we’ve had in at least 50 years. But with the El Nino dying and flattening out to neutral by month’s end, we should see more seasonable weather.

In the short term, the forecast remains the same. I feel like I’m forecasting weather in Southern California: “Mostly sunny…light winds…comfortable temperatures…” Truly, for the next 7-10 days there doesn’t appear to be any dramatic changes to the weather pattern.

This weekend will be slightly warmer and sunnier than first anticipated, but other than that the forecast remains largely unchanged. Expect partly sunny skies through next weekend.

Until then, let’s hope this character called “El Nino” in our weather series doesn’t resurrect any time too soon 😉 Have a great weekend, everyone!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap


2 thoughts on “‘El Nino’ weather conditions die, neutral conditions on the rise

  1. Great post Matt. I now have a perspective of winter as a neutral, difficult to predict, wild card. Are there any recent years that we can compare this to?

  2. Thanks, Ron! Yes, some years have been popping up as analogs lately that could change the winter forecast: 2008-2009 (this was actually a La Nina year), 2006-2007, 2005-2006, 2001-2002. These were all fairly good winters (except 2005-2006. That one was alright, but not the best)

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