A warmer El Nino will continue

credit Ricky Esquivel via pexels.com

El Nino is definitely in play now as you can see from the warm “red” Pacific waters below, just off the coast of South America. Those warm waters create warm air which causes high level winds to tear up hurricanes trying to develop in the Caribbean and Atlantic.

credit: Tropicaltidbits.com

Right now, the El Nino is considered weak, but models both strengthen the current El Nino and continue it into, at least, next winter (90% chance it lasts at least until then). That red line below is the consensus model showing the El Nino getting warmer into the fall and then weakening again next winter:

credit: International Research Institute for Climate and Society

The big take away on this is whether the El Nino, with its wind shear across the Caribbean and Atlantic, will be able to ‘win out’ against the very warm Atlantic waters. El Nino is known for inhibiting hurricane activity, especially in Texas. Only hurricane Audrey in 1957 was the outlier.

credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA)

In fact, generally speaking, El Nino seasons are quiet for the whole Atlantic basin.

credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA)

One of the big effects we count on from El Nino is the Atlantic’s response: stronger high pressures in the Atlantic create stronger trade winds which can actually cool the tropical waters. Looking at the last seven days, there IS a cooling trend in the Atlantic, which is good. I suspect the Saharan Dust has also added to that cooling.

credit: Tropicaltidbits.com

Saying all that, the American model has a hurricane in Florida at the end of the forecast period, basically the end of July and beginning of August. That is WAY out there to give any real credibility to such a forecast, but it’s a good reminder that August and September are the heart of the tropical season. Here’s the model run below--you can see the L (Low pressure indicating a storm) develop and move across the Bahamas into Florida. Again, it’s way out there so don’t believe it just yet!

credit: Tropicaltidbits.com

We’ll continue to watch and track! In the meantime, stay cool--we should see the hot pattern break a bit with better shower chances this weekend.


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About the Author:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with four decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.