Thursday, June 13, 2019

El Niño Forecast to Continue; To Bring More Rain/Severe To Area

The National Weather Service (NWS) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has put out their latest forecast/outlook for the El Niño/La Niña weather phenomenon and it has some interesting news.

According to CPC the El Niño that the nation experienced over the winter has a 70% chance of staying put over the entire summer 2019 (June-August) and up to a 60% chance it will still be with us through fall 2019 (September-November).

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Here's a graph from the CPC showing the sea surface temperature forecast over the remainder of 2019.

The colored lines are the different forecast models.  The letters at the bottom of the graph represent a series of three months, for example JJA stands for June-July-August.  The bold black line in the center is the general dividing line between El Niño when it's above this line and La Niña when it is below this line.

You might recall that the El Niño pattern brings a combination of wetter than normal, slightly cooler than normal and more active severe weather than normal to Texoma and surrounding areas.

This would indicate that the summer could bring temperatures at or slightly below normal when averaged out.  Of course keep in mind the average high temperature for the area in June is 97°-100°, therefore a slight dip would take us into the mid-low 90s.

But this forecast also points towards more active thunderstorm activity during the summer.  Of course we don't usually see a lot of thunderstorm or precipitation over the summer season, however a slight uptick in rainfall could be problematic because of the wet spring and early summer we've had so far.  Ground across the area is saturated, especially in our Oklahoma counties.  So any additional rain could result in flooding.

The final aspect of this long range El Niño forecast is the chance of increased severe weather during that time frame.

It's important to note that summer is rarely a time of dangerous severe weather in our area but still an uptick in activity could keep us on our toes throughout the season with periodic large hail and damaging thunderstorm winds.  Summer tornadoes are rare in our area but during an El Niño that activity usually goes up.

Here's the current continental forecast for temperatures and precipitation from the CPC:

It shows below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation for June-August in our area.

Then there's the fall.  During the fall there's always a second severe weather season in our area.  Sometimes it's more pronounced than others.  For instance back in 2011, the largest November tornado ever for the state of Oklahoma hit near Tipton.  Add in an El Niño and it could create another full-blown severe weather season from around September 15-November 15 with the risk of tornadoes.

Therefore, just because spring is over this is not a year to let your guard down on severe weather attention and being weather aware.  Weather radios and sirens may still be sounding off and on all the way through the beginning of winter 2019-2020 in our area.

Meteorologist Bryan W. Rupp