Strong El Niño Forecasted for 2014/15 | What Does It Mean for North America?

SnowBrains | | WeatherWeather


El Niño can be predictable up to 6 months out. Right now, it’s looking like a strong El Niño is setting up and may begin as soon as April 2014.

Graph showing forecasted temperatures of the Pacific for the coming months. Almost all of the forecasts are for a hot hot Pacific ocean leading to a strong El Niño.

El Niño hits Asia and North & South America the hardest.  If this El Niño does formulate and become strong, it’ll certainly be the biggest weather story of 2014.  You know how crazy the media gets over El Niño…

El Niño is commonly defined as “a persistent warming of the so-called “Niño3.4” region of the tropical Pacific Ocean south of Hawaii, lasting for at least five consecutive three-month “seasons.””


The reason forecasters are expecting a big El Niño this year is because deep under the Pacific Ocean, big big warming is going down.

Screen shot 2014-04-09 at 8.29.48 PM

That deep blob of warm water is about 300 feet deep and the size of the USA.  That deep warm water is being pushed east due to the reversal of the trade winds and it’s moving towards the surface.  When that warm water meets the surface, it’ll interact with the air in the atmosphere warming it up and modifying weather patterns.

Screen shot 2014-04-09 at 8.36.27 PM

“We’re carefully watching the potential development of an El Niño later this spring and into summer.  Below the surface we have a lot of warming and that could eventually make its way to the surface and create an El Niño.”  – forecaster Tony Barnston of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society

The biggest El Niño on record occurred in 1997/98 and was a huge year for Lake Tahoe snowfall.  The last time the sub-surface temperature in the Pacific was this warm in April was in 1997.  According to the University of New South Wales, the 97/98 El Niño caused $35 billion in damages as well as 23,000 deaths.

north america
Strong El Niño forecast for North America.

If you look at winter forecasts for strong El Niños, the forecast favors:  Lake Tahoe, SoCal Resorts, Taos, Utah, Flagstaff, and Telluride/Silverton.

If you believe in El Niño and this forecast, this could be the year to move out West and give one of these zones a shot.  

Donner Summit (Tahoe) snowfall and snowpack tracker.
Donner Summit (Tahoe) snowfall and snowpack tracker.

During the El Niño of 1997/98, Tahoe had an above average snowfall and snowpack year.



Related Articles

5 thoughts on “Strong El Niño Forecasted for 2014/15 | What Does It Mean for North America?

Got an opinion? Let us know...