El Nino Questions...

Some folks are wondering why it has been so quiet in November, after such an active October.  So much so, that they are questioning why the current El Nino isn't keeping it active.  Well guys, it just doesn't work that way.  Our weather patterns go in cycles, and you have to focus on the broader picture, versus the day to day stuff.  As most of you know, our last El Nino was in late 2006 and early 2007.  October 2006 was quite active.  It maxed out with a blizzard on October 26th, where most of Colorado Springs got heavy snow and strong wind.  What happened after that, as we entered November?  November temperatures were 4 degrees above normal for the month and we only got 2.7" of snow.  December of 2006 returned to a very active weather pattern.  One storm occurred just before Christmas snarling travel for days in Denver.  Another storm was one of the biggest snowstorms in history for the lower Arkansas Valley.  That storm occurred from December 28th through early December 31st, dropping 2 to 4 feet of snow, high winds, and cold temperatures.  Impressive storm anywhere, let alone in the lower Arkansas Valley.  What I am trying to say?  Weather is cyclic.  When you have an important driver like El Nino, the pattern as a whole over several weeks may be more active than normal.  That doesn't mean that we won't have nice and quiet weather from time to time.  In fact, unless you get snow early and often to keep the ground cold,  El Nino usually produces warmer than normal temperatures.  After an active and cold October, we've seen the opposite extreme so far in November.  Below are the temperature and precipitation graphics built by the Climate Prediction Center.  

December - February Temperature Trend:       


December - February Precipitation Trend:

While I tend to agree with the temperature trend of us likely seeing above normal temperatures, I think the above normal precipitation shading could be extended farther north including New Mexico, southern Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

Here is another thing to consider guys.  El Nino is just really starting to get its act together.  The latest El Nino Advisory can be found at the following link:  http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/ensodisc.html

Bottomline...El Nino is here to stay for a while.  Does it mean that Colorado Springs is going to get hammered with snow on a regular basis?  No.  Remember, it takes a lot of things coming together to produce a good snowstorm in Colorado Springs.  Does it mean that the overall pattern will be more active and supportive of more storms?  Yes, I think it does. 

For those of you that have gotten bored with our recent nice weather, I think the storm track is fixing to get active again.  Time will tell...

If you have questions, just post them here and I will try to answer them the best I can.  Thanks for reading our blog guys and gals!

Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe

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  • by ed Location: widefied on Nov 10, 2009 at 09:16 AM
    so it looks like it did last time we had el nino. the only difference is we (most of colorado springs) didn't get the october snow. it was all around us, but not here. november will be warm and dry and december MIGHT be active, that's going out on a limb around here.
  • by Julio Location: 80907 on Nov 10, 2009 at 05:25 AM
    Great information Brian. Thanks! I'm sorry...I'm just so impatient after the last two dry and uneventful winters we've had around here. Just anxious to see some serious snow!
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