The first El Niño in five years is expected to have an impact on Indiana weather this winter. Here's what we know.

Early Preditions

In April, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, issued an El Niño Watch for the Northern Hemisphere, including for Indiana. Now here we are in November, and the outlook for our winter season has arrived.



What the Heck is El Niño?

In Spanish, El Niño means "little boy" and it is the name given to the warm water phase of the climate patterns referred to as "El Niño-Southern Oscillation" or ENSO. ENSO literally impacts the weather around the globe. Likewise, La Niña, or "little girl" in Spanish, is the name given to the cold water phase on ENSO. Both El Niño and La Niña have an incredible impact on our weather here at home in Indiana.

La Niña Has Ended and El Niño Is On the Way

La Niña ended in March and we entered into what is known as an ENSO-Neutral pattern. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center expected the neutral pattern to continue into summer 2023. However, in April they issued an El Niño watch which meant favorable conditions for the weather pattern to develop in the following six months - and now, here we are six months later and looking into what this means for our winter months in Indiana.

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How El Niño Can Impact Indiana

Because the warm water pushes the Pacific Jet Stream southward, it can cause the Midwest to experience warmer-than-average temperatures. Fox59 reports that we will have a "40% to 50% chance" of seeing temperatures across Indiana that are seasonably warmer than average for December through February.

...about half of the country, including Indiana, expecting above-average temperatures between December and February

The news outlet goes on to say that this is the first El Niño event to impact Indiana since the winter of 2018-2019 and that Hoosiers can also expect less precipitation this year as well.

Indiana is among the states leaning toward less winter precipitation than a typical year – also typical of an El Niño pattern

Before You Put Away the Snow Shovel

Of course, even with the best technologies, it can be difficult to accurately predict the weather this far out. It may be wise to still keep your snow shovel handy.

[Source: NOAA]

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