EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - Many of you have probably read or heard about a "super" El Nino or "significant" El Nino event unfolding this fall and this winter in recent weeks.
According to NOAA, there is a 90% chance that a strong El Nino will take place and last right through the fall and winter months. They also said there is an 80% chance it could very well extend through the spring season in 2016 as well.
So what is El Nino and what would its impacts be for us in East Texas?
El Nino is a phase in which warmer than normal sea surface temperatures form and expand in the equatorial Pacific ocean. When those water temperatures really have an anomaly that is much warmer than normal, as is the case this year, then the El Nino can become stronger.
The significance of El Nino is that it does alter the jet stream and weather patterns across the globe, including noticeable impacts for us in East Texas.
El Nino started to form at the very tail end of 2014 and continued to develop right through this past spring in 2015. This led to the record setting rainfall we experienced this spring as the storm track was very active and set up right over the Lone Star state.
Based on recent trends and comparisons, it goes without saying that the El Nino in 2015 could rival that of 1997, which was one of the strongest one's on record.
So what does this all mean for us in East Texas? Well, if El Nino lives up to expectations, we would see cooler and wetter than normal conditions persist this fall and winter. In fact, the Climate Prediction Center has already released their winter outlook, taking this phenomena into effect.
The reason for our cooler and wetter than normal conditions will be an active sub-tropical jet stream setting up overhead. Due to our position, we would be in the storm track, which means fall cold fronts could come with some bouts of heavy rainfall. This does not necessarily mean we would see flooding rains like this past spring; however, it does mean that some heavy rain events would be likely.
In addition, the added cloud cover and rainy weather would lead to temperatures that would run cooler than normal. It should be noted that this does not mean we would see hard freezes or record setting cold. It just means that when compared to our normal daily temperatures over a few months, it would be just cooler than the normal values usually felt around these parts.
So even though the July fry is ongoing and we have really dried things out recently, don't let that fool you. It does appear that El Nino may be putting us and the rest of the state back in the storm track, something we were all familiar with just a couple of months ago.