The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on May 11 that the neutral weather pattern currently present in the Pacific is expected to shift toward an El Niño pattern sometime between May and July. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, conditions now show a 90% chance of the El Niño persisting into the winter season.
KOIN 6 Meteorologist Kelley Bayern says El Niño’s typically mean milder, drier weather for the Pacific Northwest.
“El Niño refers to a climate pattern characterized by warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean,” Bayern said. “In the Pacific Northwest, an El Niño tends to bring milder and drier winters compared to normal conditions. This means that the region may experience reduced snowfall amounts and milder temperatures during the winter months.”
NOAA predicts an 80% chance of a moderate El Niño, a 55% chance of a strong El Niño and a 5 to 10% chance of no El Niño pattern forming by the end of the year.
“It is still possible the tropical atmosphere does not couple with the ocean and El Niño fails to materialize,” NOAA stated in its prediction.