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> Spring 2017
post Today, 09:12 AM
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Rumblings from the Pacific, something is stirring - http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news...winter/70001184

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A March 9, 2017, report from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center stated that there is a 50 to 55 percent chance for El Niño to develop between July and December. If El Niño develops, it could have implications on the upcoming hurricane season and the overall weather pattern across North America into next winter.

While signs are pointing toward El Niño returning, it is not a guarantee.

“Transitioning out of winter can be very difficult for the weather models to handle, so you can get misdiagnosed in the months of February, March and April especially,” AccuWeather Lead-Long Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.

This uncertainty is sometimes referred to as the "spring barrier," since this time of year is when weather models that help to forecast El Niño are typically least accurate.

However, confidence is slowly growing that El Niño will develop this summer. It is not expected to reach its peak until late in the fall or early winter. Even if it does develop in the summer, it may take until the fall before more significant weather impacts are seen in the U.S., according to Pastelok.

The timing of the onset of El Niño may play a key role with how active the upcoming hurricane season is in the Atlantic Ocean.

During an El Niño year, the winds at the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere are not favorable for the development of tropical system in the Atlantic hurricane basin, Pastelok said.

These disruptive winds can limit the number of tropical systems that develop, leading to a below-normal year.

The strength of El Niño will determine the impacts that it has on the eastern U.S.

While it is unlikely that another "super El Niño" will unfold like the pattern two winters ago, there could be a weak to moderate El Niño during the upcoming fall and winter.

During a stronger El Niño, storm systems typically track across the southern U.S. and out to sea rather than tracking up the East Coast. This lowers the chance of a major winter storm, such as a nor’easter.

However, if the pattern is weaker, systems may track farther north and could move up the East Coast, resulting in snow when enough cold air is present.

“The weaker the El Niño, the more favorable for impactful storms and snow in the East next winter,” Pastelok said.

Thus, a weaker El Niño could spell above-normal snowfall for cities along the I-95 corridor next winter, including in New York City and Boston.
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