(NEXSTAR) – The end of El Niño may be on the horizon.
National forecasters are expecting the climate phenomenon to phase out at some point between April and June, the Climate Prediction Center said Thursday. There’s a 73% chance El Niño ends during that time period in the spring or early summer, according to the new outlook.
Between now and then, the strong El Niño we are seeing is expected to gradually weaken. When it does fade away, we are favored to see “ENSO-neutral” conditions. That means we won’t be in an El Niño, but we also won’t be in a La Niña.
Both El Niño and La Niña usually reach peak strength in the winter. A strong El Niño winter usually means a colder, wetter winter for California and the Southern U.S, but a warm, dry winter for the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley. That’s pretty in line with what we’ve seen play out this winter, and what’s expected to continue the next few months.
The absence of La Niña and El Niño, as we are expecting in a few months, can make spring weather more unpredictable.
“The crystal ball is even blurrier than usual,” Michelle L’Heureux, a meteorologist with the Climate Prediction Center, told Nexstar. “ENSO neutral effectively means that conditions across Tropical Pacific are closer to average, so there isn’t a big disruption in the atmospheric circulation that is offered by El Niño La Niña.”
But even with the end of El Niño coming down the road, its impacts are still being felt right now.
“It is typical for El Niño to peak in December/early January, but despite weakening, its impacts on the United States could last through April,” the Climate Prediction Center said.
While still too far away to say with any certainty, next fall and winter are more likely to be dominated by La Niña rather than El Niño. That would mean higher chances of warm, dry weather for the southern half of the U.S., and wet, cold weather up north.
Source: Fox 8 News Channel