There's been a LOT of talk about El Nino and what it means to OUR weather here in the Northern Plains. I've heard that other outlets are predicting a warmer than normal winter while others are predicting a cold snowy winter. Who to believe?? In a nutshell, we just don't KNOW yet. WHY? Easy answer is the new LRC cycle hasn't set yet. The new LRC cycle will begin the first week in October and by early to mid November we will get an idea of what the rest of the winter may hold. Remember, the LRC is the center piece of the atmospheric puzzle and while El Nino DOES have some impact on our weather, we have to see how the LRC cycle pans out. For example, during a "typical" LA NINA winter, which we had last winter, it typically means dry conditions for the west coast. If you remember, it was a record wet winter on the west coast with record snowfall and the LRC predicted that. We sometimes predict what winter will be by using "anomalies" and that could be a dangerous way to forecast.
I've attached a few maps using "anomalies" in regards to what past El Nino winters have produced here in the Northern Plains. Caution though, this may be a totally DIFFERENT El Nino season which produces opposite effects. So, in a nutshell, El Nino will have some effect on our winter, no doubt, however the LRC is what will tell us how the winter will end up! Stay tuned......