Strong El Ninos usually mean less snow for Ohio

Posted at 11:00 PM, Dec 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-02 23:00:24-05

My social media pages are buzzing. Everyone wants to know: "Where's the snow!!!"

By now you are aware that the we experiencing the third strongest El Nino in at least the last 50 years. An El Nino is warmer water along the equator in the Tropical Pacific Ocean. This warmer water can shift and squeeze and bend surface weather patterns around the globe, especially in winter!

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Strong El Ninos usually mean warmer than normal temperatures for Northern Ohio at least for a good portion of winter and that translates to less snow for the region as well. I am expecting less snow than normal across Northern Ohio this winter. Here's part of the reason why.

Let's consider the last four strong El Nino winters and how much snow fell in Greater Cleveland.

1997-98 was the strongest El Nino since 1950. That season, we measured 33.7 inches of snow. That's less than half the normal 70 inches Cleveland sees in a typical winter season.

The second strongest El Nino occurred during the winter of 1982-83. That winter, we shoveled a meager 38 inches of snow at Hopkins Airport.

Another strong El Nino developed for Winter 1965-66. Snowfall totals that year? Only 37.3 inches.

During the Winter El Nino of 1957-58, we measured only 31.1 inches of snow!

Now, of course, El Ninos don't mean we won't see any cold and snow. Arctic intrusions just have a little trouble sticking and staying. But I still expect a random winter storm or three this winter! So, don't put away those shovels just yet.


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