El Niño headed to New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— New Mexico could be in for more rain and snow this winter, according to the latest prediction from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.
“When we see El Niño, we tend to get excited here in New Mexico, because it does usually imply more winter precipitation,” said Todd Shoemake, lead forecaster with National Weather Service Albuquerque.
The Climate Prediction Center’s report predicts an El Niño winter for New Mexico, for the first time in four years. Which usually means near-normal temperatures for the state.
But what is El Niño?
“It seems to be a household name, but nobody really knows what it is. El Niño is actually a phenomenon that occurs in the eastern Pacific Ocean right near the equator. And basically, it’s just when easterly trade winds, basically surface winds from the east, they tend to relax, and it allows a temperature change in the waters near the surface of the ocean,” said Shoemake.
Shoemake says despite El Niño being close to the equator, it impacts global weather patterns.
“So a lot of times we’ll see more thunderstorms develop along the equator when El Niño is at work,” said Shoemake.
El Niño could really pay off during winter, with more rain and snow coming to our drought-stricken state. Which not only will help up during those months, but Shoemake says it will also help us out in the spring.
“Snowpack will slowly and gradually melt off through April, May and sometimes even into early June. And that really helps our rivers and then sometimes can even boost the levels of reservoirs and lakes,” said Shoemake.
National Weather Service Albuquerque says we’ll likely see these changes come in the heart of winter, around late December and January.
To see the Climate Prediction Center’s report, click here.