El Niño and SUPERCELL (the novel)

Tornado_Damage_BirminghamLast week I blogged about El Niño and its connection, or lack thereof, to wintry weather in the Deep South.  This week I’ll take a look at El Niño and its influence on severe storms–supercells and tornadoes–in the same region.

There’s a late-winter/early-spring climatological maximum in Dixie of severe storms (before the focus of the turmoil shifts to the Great Plains), so that’s the season I’ll examine. 

Most people will be happy to learn that El Niño-influenced weather patterns have a damping effect on violent storms at that time of year in the South.  That is, there are fewer slam-bang thunderboomers around as compared to, say, a La Niña year.

El Niño and BLIZZARD (the novel)


Blizzard-home-cvrAs you’re undoubtedly aware, a powerful El
Niño is expected to exert heavy-handed authority over our weather this winter.  And before I go any further, please, please, please remember El Niño is NOT a weather phenomenon.  It’s the name given to a particular Pacific Ocean temperature regime.  El Niño exerts an influence on weather patterns, but is not in and of itself a weather event.

Okay, glad we got that straightened out.  Anyhow, with a chiller- and wetter-than-average cool season looming for much of the Southeast (see graphics below) due to El Niño’s impact, I got to wondering if that meant there might be a greater chance than usual for ice and snow in the land of cotton and kudzu.

EL NINO AND EYEWALL

Eyewall-cvrThe Atlantic hurricane season is off to a stumbling start this year and doesn’t seem destined to become much better . . . or worse, depending on your viewpoint.  So far, only three relatively flabby (but soggy) tropical storms have popped up, Ana, Bill, and Claudette.

The Pacific basins, in contrast, have been spitting out hurricanes and typhoons like a toddler hurling his creamed spinach.

So what’s going on?  El Niño!  Yes, our favorite scapegoat for absolutely everything has returned.  (Well, maybe we can’t blame Donald Trump on it.)