America braces for big freeze this winter: New maps show how much snow El Nino ... trends now
The U.S. should expect some drastic weather conditions in the upcoming months as El Niño is set to come in especially strong this year.
New maps show how much snow you can expect to fall down on your state this winter based on average snowfall from past years - with record amounts of snow expected to descend on parts of the U.S. in the upcoming months.
El Niño - which translates to 'little boy' in Spanish - is caused by a shift in the distribution of warm water in the Pacific Ocean around the equator.
The shift has a big impact on weather patterns around the globe - and this year's El Niño is expected to be the strongest since 2015 - which saw the warmest U.S. winter on record.
The new maps show that - during strong El Niño seasons - the northern U.S. is usually drier, while the southern U.S. typically is wetter and snowier.
Snowfall during all El Niño winters (January-March) compared to the 1991-2020 average - with blue colors showing more snow than average and brown showing less snow than average
The above map from NOAA depicted the number of years with below-average snowfall during the 13 moderate-to-strong El Niño winters that have hit since 1959
This NOAA map detailed the amount that each area differed from the average snowfall - with blue indicating more snow and brown marking less snow
A third NOAA map showed the changes in snowfall (in inches per decade) between 1959 and 2023 across the U.S - and indicated that snowfall has declined overall
El Niño amplifies weather conditions - depending on its strength.
The NOAA map detailed the amount that each area differed from the average snowfall - with blue indicating more snow and brown marking less snow.
During stronger El Niño winters, there is more snow than average in the Midwest area of the U.S. and western states like Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.
New England confronts far less snow than normal during intense El Niño seasons - New York, Vermont and parts of Maine are likely to see far less snowfall this winter than the average from 1991-2020.
El Niño is caused by a shift in the distribution of warm water in the Pacific Ocean around the equator.
Usually the wind blows strongly from east to west, due to the rotation of the Earth, causing water to pile up in the western part of the Pacific.
This pulls up colder water from the deep ocean in the eastern Pacific.
However, in an El Niño, the winds pushing the water get weaker and cause the warmer water to shift back towards the east. This causes the eastern Pacific to get warmer.
But as the ocean temperature is linked to the wind currents, this causes the winds to grow weaker still and so the ocean grows warmer, meaning the El Niño grows.
This change in air and ocean currents around the equator can have a major impact on the weather patterns around the globe by creating pressure anomalies in the atmosphere.
New Yorkers will have to take their winter coats back out of storage after last year's unusually dry winter - thanks to this year's strong El Niño.
New York City only received 2.3 inches of snowfall last winter