Warmer, wetter weather may be ahead, thanks to El Nino

August 2, 2018

LINCOLN - A growing El Nino pattern in the Pacific Ocean will have an increasing impact on the weather in Nebraska and across the region this coming winter and next spring.

Nebraska state climatologist Martha Shulski says the August heat may miss much of the Northern Plains.

“Calling for increased chance for above-normal temperatures for much of the country,” Shulski says. “There’s a kind of donut here in the north-central U.S., from central Nebraska and northward, where they’re calling for equal chances, so not a lot of guidance for temperature projection for August.”

Shulski says the outlook heading into fall shows we may not need to switch on our furnaces early this year.

“Warmer-than-normal temperatures, you still see that remaining and shifting northward a bit,” Shulski says. “For much of the country, that’s the highest probability, the highest category of above-normal temperatures for that three-month time frame.”

Shulski says El Nino conditions will likely start to be felt by late in the year, which may mean more rainfall and snowfall.

“We’re seeing the increased chance for wetter-than-normal conditions along the southern U.S. and that extends up into southeast Wyoming and into Nebraska,” she says. “For the remainder of the region, equal chances of above normal and below-normal precipitation.”

Shulski says an El Nino typically means warmer temperatures and more precipitation in the winter and early spring.

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