SPOKANE, WASH. - Move over La Niña! El Niño may soon make a comeback!
Chief Meteorologist Tom Sherry and Weather Forecaster Briana Bermensolo are tracking more rain than normal in March.
This, after a La Niña weather event, is responsible for our region's rough winter. The winter La Niña pattern is now over.
Briana said one of the long-range computer outlooks, the European forecast model (ECMWF), is now aggressively predicting a return of an El Niño pattern as early as fall of 2017.
Five things to know about El Niño:
1. El Niño is part of an important climate phenomena called ENSO, or the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. ENSO includes the climate patterns of El Niño, La Niña and when the atmosphere is in a neutral state.
2. El Niño refers to a pattern of unusually warm water stretching across the surface of the Pacific Ocean. During an El Niño event, the relationships between winds and ocean currents in the Pacific Ocean change. This modifies weather conditions around the world.
3. A La Niña pattern typically follows an El Niño and lasts around nine months.
4. El Niño can create warmer and drier conditions for the Inland Northwest in the winter.
5. Some El Niño events are stronger than others. One of the strongest El Niño events was measured during 1997-1998. The 2015-2016 El Niño was also exceptionally strong, earning the nickname “Godzilla.”\
NOAA is currently calling for a 45% chance of El Niño from July to September, 2017
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