El Niño continues to strengthen and now threatens to challenge historical intensity standards. Ironically, the atmosphere hasn’t responded like it normally would at this stage of a developing El Niño event.
During strong El Niño winters, warmer air builds across Alaska, western Canada, and northern sections of the United States. The northern branch of the jet stream typically dives south, brining moist air into the southern United States, along with cooler and wetter conditions.
This El Niño event appears to be encountering an impasse. This might be caused by what meteorologists call the Madden Julian Oscillation, which may be impacting circulation east of the International Dateline. Rising air and widespread thunderstorms west of this area create more buoyancy. Eastern air sinks and becomes drier.
Most experts believe this temporary obstruction will abate and El Niño will begin behaving like normal. The effects may be postponed.
All long-range computer models still anticipate above normal temperatures across our region through the early 2024. The precipitation trend is expected to be at or below normal as heavier moisture effects the southeastern United States.
The 30-day outlook is making a strong case for warm air enveloping the western United States with wet weather increasing across the Pacific Northwest. This pattern reflects the influence of a strong El Niño that is finally starting to exert its influence over regional weather patterns.
A majority of Minnesota and Wisconsin are abnormally dry with pockets of moderate drought conditions. Soil moisture appears normal except in far eastern North Dakota and a small section of central Wisconsin.