El Niño Is Coming and It's Going to Be Good for North Texas

Categories: Weather

National Weather Service
El Niño is coming. Don't run for your life.

The National Weather Service and International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University announced Friday that the groups were bumping their estimation of the likelihood of a summer El Niño this year to 70 percent.

Depending on where you get your online news, this was either potentially fantastic or a warning to leave Earth on the first available shuttle.

Unfair Park had no idea what to think. We remembered that El Niño was a thing and that it sounded ominous, but we had no idea why it happened or what it would mean for North Texas' climate. To remedy our ignorance, we got in touch with Dan Huckaby, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Fort Worth office and an expert on the causes and effects of El Niño and its sister phenomenon La Niña.

El Niño, Huckaby says, occurs when the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America warms. That warning can affect weather patterns worldwide. For North America and North Texas specifically, the most likely outcome is increased precipitation, but nothing will happen as early as the summer.

"We won't see the effects of a summer El Niño until this winter," he says.

"The last time we had an El Niño was the winter of 2009-2010, when we had over a foot of snow in one day," he says.

Although floods are a possibility, Huckaby says an El Niño could do more good than harm to North Texas as a potential respite for the current drought.

As for the weather event's name, Huckaby tells Unfair Park that when South Americans first noticed El Niño a few hundred years ago, the warmer waters first reached shore around Christmas. El Niño (the boy) is a nod to baby Jesus. La Niña (girl) is indicated by cooler ocean temperatures in the eastern Pacific, and the name was coined by meteorologists to reflect that it was the opposite of El Niño.

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i live in north carolina the el nino of 1997/98 caused record rainfall in randolph and caswell counties north carolina 5 years december 4th an ice storm occurred leaving 1 inch thick ice on trees and power lines no power for 5 days i'm hoping el nino does not become strong again i don't like winter the winter of 2013/14 was bitterly due to the jet stream and polar vortex i don't want to any freezing rain 


This image is for La Nina not for El nino. In El Nino, there is no upwelling at all in the coastline of South America.

Montemalone topcommenter

Tony Tinderholt'll stop that El Nino before he even reaches El Paso.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

I was wondering what effect La Niña would have on the USA.  From NOAA:

  • La Niña often features drier than normal conditions in the Southwest in late summer through the subsequent winter. Drier than normal conditions also typically occur in the Central Plains in the fall and in the Southeast in the winter. In contrast, the Pacific Northwest is more likely to be wetter than normal in the late fall and early winter with the presence of a well-established La Niña. Additionally, on average La Niña winters are warmer than normal in the Southeast and colder than normal in the Northwest.

holmantx topcommenter

Group-think appears to be alive and well in the 'ol climate prediction biz.  You can Google "state climatologist el nino" and every state climatologist from New York to North Carolina to Texas to OK has been saying this about the El Nino effect coming due next winter. - maybe.

Sounds like the methodology employed by the Dallas Morning News Ed Board when issuing a stance on just about anything.  The headline implies one thing.  A torrent recap of known facts to revv up the word count (wasting everyone's time).  A flippant 'on the other hand' counter(intuitive - ha!) to hide behind just in case  the headline blows up in their faces, followed by a Big Finish reminiscent of the Heckowie Indian tribe elders of an old F Troop sitcom (when asked where they came from and how they got their name).

(Where the heck are we?)


@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul Climate is what you expect (after calculating a series of averages based on previous weather data), weather is what you get.

Just, you know, because I nitpick sometimes.

TheRuddSki topcommenter


Climate is what China and India make of it.

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