EL NINO WATCH: What it means for this summer and next winter - KMSP-TV

EL NINO WATCH: What it means for this summer and next winter

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Meteorologist Steve Frazier Meteorologist Steve Frazier

Are you tired of the "Polar Vortex" sending us shots of the Arctic?  After a brutal winter here in the "Upper Midwest", the return of El Nino just might be our saving grace. In typical El Nino years, the last of which was 2010, we can expect a hotter summer and milder winter. We will talk more on that in a bit.

Below is the new forecast for El Nino, and we have a 50% chance of it according to NOAA. Look at those red lines below.

EL NINO FORECAST FEBRUARY  THROUGH OCTOBER 2014

WHAT IS EL NINO?

"El Nino" is Spanish for "The Child" which references the baby Jesus, whose birth is celebrated on Christmas Day which is near the time when the warming of the waters is often noticed.

You may recall record warmth in Alaska this winter along with a hot and dry Western US. Here in the Upper Midwest, we suffered the opposite of that with a brutally cold winter. Well, that warm up out West was also over the equatorial Pacific, hence El Nino could be born.

Below is a map of just what an El Nino means for us here in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

EL NINO SETUP  - LOK AT THAT RED (WARM)

EL NINO PATTERN - SPLIT JET STREAM (LESS STORMS)

Instead of getting blasted from the Arctic with shots of frigid air, we should see our air masses originate from the Pacific. This means a milder winter. Good news, if this winter season has been driving you bonkers.

EL NINO WINTER SET UP, MILDER MIDWEST

Enough on what El Nino will most likely do to our winters, how about our summer? In a strong El Nino year, which this could be, get ready to sweat. That sounds like good news now, as we are freezing our barometers off, but its not such good news for parts of the central US in need of rain. However, Strong El Nino years tend to provide more rain for the western US and that is great news for drought stricken areas.

EL NINO AND HURRICANE SEASON?

When it comes to hurricane and tropical storm action during an El Nino year, shear is the magic word. The circulation, pictured below, will provide unfavorable winds for cyclone development.
This means these storm never really get started because the upper winds are blowing against the direction the storms grow. This is true for the Atlantic, but in the Pacific, an El Nino year can lead to more hurricanes because of the warmer environment.

For you "Global Warming" enthusiasts, a strong El Nino could lead to world record high temperatures once again being challenged. Stay tuned.

We would love to see your weather photos! Email them to Photos@Fox9.com . Also I hope you will LIKE my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/SteveFrazierFox9Kmsp and follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/FrazierFox9. Thanks for watching! FRAZIER

SUB-ZERO TRACKER: Twin Cities SUBZERO at 5th most and counting


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