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El Nino's U.S. Winter Effects

July 8, 2014

By WeatherBug's Mena Martini


Weather events always have their strongest and weakest points. Hurricanes are strongest in the summer and early-autumn and snowstorms are more common in the winter. Although rarer than the two previous events, an El Nino also has a peak period.

El Nino`s effects are strongest during the winter months. This is when most of the effects from the warming of the Pacific equatorial waters are most noticeable.

Snowfall is greater than average over the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada mountains, which is good news for skiers and snowboarders. Across California and the Southwest, rainfall from more frequent and more powerful winter storms can both remedy droughts and produce floods and mudslides. During El Nino warm air is pushed northward along the West Coast. Even Alaska can expect more severe winter storms than normal.

On the East Coast, the winter months can be unusually dry. Skiers and snowboarders on the East Coast will be disappointed to discover that El Nino`s bring warmer winter temperatures that result in reduced snowfall. Florida is one of the only states on the East Coast that sees a wetter than average winter.

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