A rapidly strengthening pattern of Pacific warming threatens a week of downpours before US braces for an 'El Nino winter' to unleash possible ‘snowmageddon’.
Rising temperatures in the eastern Pacific, confirmed earlier in the year, show no signs of abating with a ‘strong El Nino’ now feared.
The phenomenon, the result of a change in ocean currents causing warm water to collect around the Peruvian coast, can affect global weather patterns.
In the US, it is linked to wetter, colder weather across southern states, and warmer weather across the north.
Torrential downpours this week could be an early signal of a climatic weather shake-up, experts warn.
Colder weather can hit the south during an El Nino winter
The Weather Channel
Jim Dale, social commentator and US correspondent for British Weather Services, said: “The pattern of El Nino is already playing out this week, although it is early days, the heavy rain and stormy weather could be an early signal of the change in weather pattern.
“This may be linked to warmer ocean temperatures, certainly in the Gulf of Mexico where a sub-tropical storm appears to be forming quite late in the season, and this is one that will need to be watched.
“The south coast, and Florida, will be expecting further rain through the week.”
If El Nino strengthens further through the coming months, it could mean colder weather and the risk of snow, he added.
He said: “The cold may eventually come into the east quadrant of the United States during the second half of the season.
“Most at risk of this is likely to be New York, Maine and the Great Lakes.”
However, El Nino may not work solo, but depend on the development of a high-pressure system–the Greenland Block–to drive cold weather.
The greenland block arises when high pressure builds
The Weather Channel
While a bitterly cold spell over the next three months may be in the pipeline, El Nino has also been linked to warmer-than-average conditions.
Weather Channel meteorologist Danielle Banks said: “El Nino isn’t the only thing that affects winter weather.
“One of those other things is an area of high pressure called the Greenland Block.
“Which can push cold air into the central, southern and eastern US.
“We will be keeping a closer eye on whether or not that forms as we get deeper into winter.”
Northern parts of the country may be prone to higher temperatures during an El Nino winter, she said.
But when it joins forces with the Greenland block, it can put parts of the country at risk of ‘snowmageddon’, she warned.
She said: “Generally a strong El Nino winter which is what we are heading into tends to be warmer than average for much of the northern part of the country.
“The warmest winter on record in the US happened during the last strong El Nino, which was in 2015 to 2016.
“But then if you look back six years to 2009 to 2010, also during a strong El Nino, it turned out to be the coldest winter in the US so far this century.
“You might also remember it as snowmageddon in parts of the mid-Atlantic that saw record snowfall.”