El Niño Extended Stay - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

El Niño Extended Stay

We broke records in May, and jumped above average in June. 
Now nine days into July, typically one the driest months of the year, Wichita Falls eclipsed our rainfall average again.

And this trend could continue...

"We expect a very high chance that El Niño will continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter, and even up to an 80 percent chance that it will last into early spring of 2016," Meteorologist for NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, Tom Di Liberto, said.

The main signature of an El Niño is warmer than average temperatures in the equatorial pacific These warmer ocean temps provide the fuel for more  hurricanes and typhoons to form in the Pacific Ocean, while the Atlantic Ocean is usually more quiet.

For Texoma, a strong El Niño brings the storm track south, setting us up for above average precipitation into the fall and winter months, coupled with below average temperatures.

"When you have a strong El Niño, it's not a guarantee that you'll see above average rainfall, but its certainly a tilt in the odds towards it," Di Liberto said. 
Earlier this spring, El Niño would be classified as weak to moderate. It continues to strengthen each week, and is progged to be classified as strong by this winter. 

But why does the strength matter?

"A strong El Nino is more likely to impact the atmosphere at a level where we do tend to see impacts across where we live," Di Liberto said. 
We've heard tales of a so called "Super El Niño" before, as recently as last summer. That forecast didn't pan out at all, as the ocean was ready, but the atmosphere was not. According to Di Liberto, this year is much different. 

"This year, what we see is a pretty strong coupling between the atmosphere and the ocean," Di Liberto explained. "They both look incredibly El Niño like. There's much more confidence that we'll at least maintain and  El Niño going into the fall and winter, and also see a continued strengthening in the rest of 2015.

Interestingly enough, El Niño won't impact our temperatures or precipitation that much this summer. That's because during the summer, it's harder to figure out if the interaction we're seeing is due to El Niño or if it's because of other weather events.

The impact of El Niño will be felt more in the fall and winter months.As such, Texoma could see more flooding and more severe weather in the months to come. 

The Climate Prediction Center found a definite connection between all the rain Texoma saw this spring and a strengthening El Niño.

Dave Caulfield, Skywarn 6 Meteorologist. 

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