El Niño Check-In

Jan. 4, 2016: It’s been a very interesting winter so far, and with 1/3 of it done already, let’s check-in with how the very strong El Niño has been influencing our winter so far.

Remember, El Niño typically brings us a warmer and drier winter than average.

el nino update

So far, we’ve definitely been above average for temperatures. Rockford, in fact, had its warmest winter on record (since 1905).  January, despite the weather feeling cooler, has so far been slightly above average.

As for precipitation, that’s a different story. A stubbornly wet weather pattern has kept precipitation flowing into the region since November, and hasn’t slowed down until recently. As a result, this winter is sitting nearly 2 1/2″ above average for precipitation (rain plus the liquid equivalent in all of the snow/sleet). This just goes to show that while a pattern like El Niño is known to provide a certain kind of weather, there may be other processes in play that may provide something different.

off15_temp

Climate Prediction Center outlook for January 2016. Northern Illinois is expected to have near-average temperatures.

Climate Prediction Center outlook for January 2016. Northern Illinois is expected to be near to below average for precipitation.

Climate Prediction Center outlook for January 2016. Northern Illinois is expected to be near to below average for precipitation.

According to the Climate Prediction Center, we may still end up drier than average this month, counteracting the wet start to winter. Temperatures also look to remain near or above average this month.

Keep in mind, we have to look at the winter as whole to get the final picture of how this El Niño event affected the season, so we still have 2 months to go and a lot may change!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on January 4, 2016

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