El Niño is the warming of the equatorial Pacific water which causes an increase in tropical rain and thunderstorm development. It's likely that El Niño will continue this summer and there's an 80% chance it will linger through the rest of 2015. El Niño has global impacts: some negative, some positive. Even for the Southeast U.S., some El Niño influences are beneficial; some not so beneficial.
HAPPENING NOW IMAGES:
El Niño impacts across Alabama tend to be greatest in the winter and early spring-time. State Climatologist Dr. John Christy says there is no real summertime signal. If El Niño continues after September when the jet stream starts to crank up again and when there are more temperature differences across the globe, then we might see more impacts. Summer crops may be impacted by increased rainfall and a more active jet stream across the Southeast could lower the chance for hurricane development during the fall peak season.
If El Niño persists into the winter and spring, a more active jet stream pattern can linger across the Southeast resulting in cooler and wetter than normal conditions. Christy says, the impacts can vary from north to south across the state. North Alabama tends to not see as many impacts than closer to the coast. A more active storm track can also mean more cold season tornadoes in Florida.
PATTERN MORE TYPICAL OF LATE FALL INTO WINTER:
Here is some great information from the Southeast Climate extension office: http://agroclimate.org/climate/ENSO-Impacts-southeast.pdf
So for now, with no signal towards any particular weather pattern, expect conditions to be all over the place. Long range model data continues to signal a wetter pattern unfolding the rest of May. It's related to a slight shift in the jet stream and surface features that will allow Gulf moisture to build across the Southeast.
By: Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist