+1 612 345 6789

How El Niño will affect the weather this winter

he El Niño weather pattern is still active heading into the winter this year and it will mean the northern and far west portions of the U.S. will have a warmer-than-usual winter. Also, some western and southeastern swaths of the U.S. will have a wetter winter than usual, according to a prediction released Thursday from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

El Niño, meaning “little boy” in Spanish, and La Niña, meaning “little girl” in Spanish, are opposite weather patterns driven by a change in the trade winds in the Pacific Ocean. When active, they can affect weather conditions around the globe.

This is the first time in four years that El Niño has been active as winter begins, according to the NOAA.

Temperatures in the northern and far west portions of the U.S. will be warmer than normal, especially in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and northern New England.

El Niño will also mean portions of northern Alaska, some parts of the West, the Gulf Coast, the southern plains region, the lower mid-Atlantic and the southeastern U.S. will likely see a wetter-than-usual winter, according to the NOAA.

“An enhanced southern jet stream and associated moisture often present during strong El Niño events supports high odds for above-average precipitation for the Gulf Coast, lower Mississippi Valley and Southeast states this winter,” Jon Gottschalck, of the NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said in a written statement.

Parts of the northern Rockies and central Great Lakes region, specifically Michigan, northern Ohio and Indiana, are forecast to have a drier-than-normal winter.