Strong El Niño Could Bring Plenty of Flakes to Snow-starved East Coast This Winter


With El Niño conditions ramping up in the Pacific Ocean, snow-starved areas in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic could finally see an increase in snowfall this winter.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released maps revealing which parts of the US have seen the biggest changes in past years as a result of the natural weather pattern — which has historically translated to more snow in the East.

This year’s El Niño — the first in four years — developed in the Pacific at the beginning of hurricane season, Fox News Meteorologist Marissa Lautenbacher told The Post.

During an El Niño year, which impacts weather the most during the winter in the US, the jet stream dips south and extends eastward across the continental US.

As a result, temperatures in the northeast are expected to be a touch warmer than in recent winters, but the region will see more coastal storms, offering chances for some big blasts of snow after several notable dry seasons.

“El Niño years can increase the frequency of coastal storms like nor’easters,” Lautenbacher explained, with a main concern being coastal erosion.

“We can also get heavy snow depending on how cold it can get in the northeast,” she said. “We can get a lot of snow depending on where the storm sets off up the coast.”

The southern US can expect much-needed precipitation and cooler temperatures while the West Coast, particularly the Pacific Northwest, will be cooler and dryer, according to Lautenbacher.

While actual snowfall depends on a number of factors, the new NOAA maps offer a look at how each region of the country has been impacted during El Nino years.

“El Niño nudges the odds in favor of certain climate outcomes, but never ensures them,” Michelle L’Heureux, one of the two scientists behind the new maps said in a blog post.

One map shows how snowfall during El Niño winters [Jan. to March] — despite its strength — differs from the average, with notable snowfall increases in the Sierra Nevada mountains and the southwest as well as along the East Coast from North Carolina to New Jersey.

The Great Lakes, which is known for its winter snowstorms, have historically had less snow during El Niño winters.

With this year’s El Niño anticipated to be strong, the impact could be more severe, as shown in another map revealing the amplified effects of moderate to strong El Niño winters.

As a whole, the US is experiencing a downward trend in snowy winters as a result of climate change, NOAA maps show.

Source: New York Post