| Kansas City, MO

« Can't Beat It! | Main | Wild changes »

 September 14, 2006

El Nino and our weather

Good morning everyone,

Jeff and I are back from a seminar in Madison, Wisconsin. We learned some tips and tricks that will allow us to have the best weather graphics in Kansas City. It will be another few weeks until we get some of these new additions into the weathercast. They will help tell the weather story each night. It will take a lot of effort and creativity to help enhance our weathercasts and continue to make them the best. We will be putting this effort in as November approaches.

While we were in Madison it rained almost the entire time. It is amazing how the weather is so different just two states away. Maybe the weather pattern over the next year will bring us some exciting storm systems like Madison had the past few days. They are about 5 inches of rain above average for the year and it is lush and green up there.

Now....to our weather pattern which is in constant change at this moment. El Nino....El Nino....El Nino. Yes, it appears that El Nino has developed. What is it? What does it mean for our weather? And, what are my opinions. You can read the entire report from the National Weather Service at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/index.html

Here are the excerpts from the report:

El Niño conditions have developed and are likely to continue into early 2007!

Typical El Niño effects are likely to develop over North America during the upcoming winter season. Those include warmer-than-average temperatures over western and central Canada, and over the western and northern United States. Wetter-than-average conditions are likely over portions of the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida, while drier-than-average conditions can be expected in the Ohio Valley, the Pacific Northwest, and most of the U.S.-affiliated islands in the north tropical Pacific.

El Nino is the warming of the tropical Pacific waters. This warming will affect the weather patterns around the world and this includes our weather pattern across the United States. We will have to keep monitoring this developing El Nino closely to see how strong it may get.

So, what do I think about this developing El Nino? I definitely believe it will affect and influence our weather pattern. But, I also believe that our weather pattern will form independent of El Nino and become established by early November and then begin cycling. Whatever pattern does set up will then be influenced by the developing and strengthening El Nino. El Nino will help strengthen the subtropical jetstream especially when we have split flow. If you look historically at El Nino and how it influences Kansas City weather you will find that there is no strong correlation one way or the other when it comes to snowfall, rainfall, and temperatures. This should clearly show you that it only influences our weather pattern and it is MORE dependent on what the pattern is than anything else. And, the pattern will be setting up during the next 45 days regardless of what El Nino is doing? This is what I believe. This doesn't mean I don't think El Nino will have an impact. I strongly believe that it will. But, when other meteorologists come on and say that this or that event is "because" of El Nino I just scream. Strange weather events happen every year.

Click to enlarge (500 mb flow valid Sunday night)

Click to enlarge (Surface flow valid Sunday night)

Above, you can see the weather pattern forecasted for later this weekend. The trough moving across is positively tilted....again. So, there is little chance of widespread lift and this will likely limit the chance of rain to a short period of time as the front blows through. The exact timing of the front is still uncertain. If the base of the upper level trough can be a bit stronger with more curvature, thus deepening the trough a bit, then the front would slow down and we could have a better chance of thunderstorms. This is what we will look for during the next few computer model runs.

Have a great day!


Posted by at September 14, 2006 6:27 AM


Good morning Gary. Glad you all are back. Jamie did a great job! I agree with you about the El Nino. I am already hearing other meteorologists saying it will be a El Nino year. What about you theory of cycling and that huge ridge that is now broken down? Could't we possible see a little stronger winter than we have had in the past couple of years? Thanks for all your hard work. Michael

Yes and I hope so. It will depend on how the weather pattern sets up during the next 45 days. It could be a great pattern for us. We had a weaker El Nino in 1992-1993 and had a great winter with snowstorms, ice storms, rain events, then the "Flood of '93". It wasn't because of El Nino then or now. It was the weather pattern that set up with some influence from El Nino. So, we can hope for an exciting weather pattern and we are due. It could easily be another bad pattern of boring weather. So, let's think positively and hope for the best.


Posted by: michael huffman at September 14, 2006 7:45 AM

I wrote a little poem and my son wanting me to send it to you.

As I look out across the tops of the fields,
The suffering of the farmer is truly revealed.
The stalks are brown from dryness and heat.
The ground is cracked from days of repeat.
We shake our heads at the drop of the rain.
And forget that our food comes from the grain.
We need the clouds to cover the sky.
For with out the rains the crops will die.
So as you look at the shades of gray,
Do not wish the clouds away.
As you prepare your dinner tonight,
Pray for the rain, Gary says is in sight.


Great poem! Thank you for sharing. Now, let's hope for a nice round of thunderstorms over the weekend.


Posted by: Jamie Dickinson at September 14, 2006 9:28 AM

More to post later..but this would be the low that follows my early pattern...this would allign with the last one that was strong and cutoff. Doesn't look like this one will..but there is still time...LOL..more to come later. I expect rain from this like we had from the last one.

Keep trying, but you will see what happens as soon as it gets past October 10th and especially around the 15th to 20th. Something absolutely fascinating happens. So, keep working on your pattern that is evolving, but I will show you that it has NOTHING to do with what is about to happen.

I hope it rains early Sunday or late Saturday night. If it waits until Sunday evening we could have severe weather and I don't want that. I know many of you do, but I like regular old thunderstorms more than the severe ones.


Posted by: Scott at September 14, 2006 10:03 AM

Gary, The big 3 day breast cancer walk begins tomorrow and runs through Sunday in KC. There will be hundreds walking throughout our city. Will it rain on us? Rita

At this moment the timing for the rain is early on Sunday.


Posted by: Rita at September 14, 2006 10:34 AM


Your last response piqued my curiousity. When the pattern shows itself, will you express what features are defining the pattern? As I think I see one now, if you define it differently, it is possible we both could be right based on the point we are referencing within the cycle. So..for example..you may reference a feature that happens what you would define as the 1st phase of a cycle, where I may be referencing a feature that is in the 3rd phase of a cycle believing that it was the first part. Both - being part of the same cycle. Does this make sense? I will wait to see the big change, and if it happens, makes this question irrelevant..but I think we may see different pieces of the same cycle and miss the overall fact of it being the same cycle in different phases. What do ya think?

Actually you have a very good point. Not necessarily relevant on the current situation since I believe that the new pattern hasn't even come close to starting yet, but very relevant once it gets going. I may consider day 1 to be your day 28 and then could still be the same features. But, we will know as we go into the second cycle since I will be able to show you the same pattern on each cycle. Does this make sense? And it is amazing the confidence I have that it will happen again, and that I will still be amazed when it does happen.


Posted by: Scott at September 14, 2006 11:40 AM

I have some Concern for Severe Weather Late Saturday Afternoon and evening. Large Hail and damaging winds the Main threat but, also a slight chance of short track Tornado or 2.

Steve Newport
De Soto Kansas

The timing will be crucial. Right now I strongly think that any severe weather would be over central or north central Kansas before dark.


Posted by: Steve Newport at September 14, 2006 12:03 PM


Hopefully, this warm episode will not increase to a moderate strength El Nino. However, the latest animations from the CPC are not encouraging. The last few frames from late August into September show the sea surface temperature anomalies increasing. The winter seasons of 76-77, and 77-78 were exciting with a weak El Nino, but the GRC was not invented yet with a specific pattern to compliment those winter seasons. I am also interested in the weather patterns that took place during those winters.



Good points. El Nino is growing and we will have to watch closely. I do have some data for those winters but I haven't analyzed them.


Posted by: Devin at September 14, 2006 3:50 PM

Hi Gary ~

I'm sorry to admit that I recently discovered your weather blog page. :o| BUT now that I'm here I will be a frequent flyer. Now for the subject at hand, for those who are sceptical of El Nino reality I am here to say that it does exist and I witnessed it first hand while living in California...I believe 1997. Major flooding and mud slides. Big Sur was cut off from the rest of the world for months. We need the rain, but let's hope it's not like that.

Belated sympathy wishes on the passing of Windy. She certainly touched many lives, and you now know you have a guardian angel. :o)

Welcome to the Action Weather Blog. We are glad you found us.

The 1997 rain and the rainfall record year of 2004 are not as a result of El Nino. There is likely some correlation but since 2004 was the wettest year in Los Angeles history and it was NOT an El Nino year....well I think you see what I mean. Can you imagine if it was? Then everyone would be saying that it was because of El Nino. My point is that other things are going on that are bigger. This isn't to say that in 1997 the winter wasn't majorly influenced by that intense El Nino.


Posted by: Lynn at September 14, 2006 4:03 PM


I know the pattern has not set itself up yet, but do you have any hunches or speculation on when the first freeze may occur?

We almost always have an early cold front where it comes close to freezing and then if it misses us then it ends up being a later freeze. The cold front heading our way for Sunday night looks pretty strong and we may see some 30s around. But, beyond this is anyones guess. I don't have a feeling yet.


Posted by: Jon at September 14, 2006 8:10 PM

El nino. Will that effect our winter precipitation amount(snow). I have heard rumors that we are suppose to have a pretty harsh and what they meant by harsh was that it was going to be longer, snowier and colder. It is way off but i am getting excited for when its time to unviel you winter forcast.

I sure hope that it is a long hard winter. I love winter as it is my favorite season. But, the weather pattern hasn't started setting up yet.


Posted by: Jeff Brockman at September 14, 2006 8:46 PM

Gary and Team,

I have a boat with an inboard/outboard motor and it is currently in storage at a boat company waiting to be fixed sometime during the week of the 25th. I am very nervous that it will get close to a freeze now with all this talk that I am wondering in your opinion if I should get the boat home and have it winterized then take it back to get it fixed or if I am just being paranoid. A cracked boat engine block does not sound very cheap. But if you don't think it will get that close to freezing around Ozawkie KS then I will quit fretting over it.

It won't drop to freezing this early. It will be later in October. I promise.


Posted by: Keri Worley at September 14, 2006 10:41 PM

Kinda off the subject, but I see NOAA has put out the first WINTER STORM WATCH of the season, in central Montana. They are calling for 1 ft. of SNOW... Its needs to hurry this way.. I mean the SNOW!!!!!!

This is always on subject for me. Snow....think snow! That is a strong storm moving into Montana.


Posted by: matt at September 14, 2006 10:45 PM


March 2009

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

 December 2007
 August 2007
 April 2007
 March 2007
 February 2007
 January 2007
 December 2006
 November 2006
 October 2006
 September 2006
 August 2006
 July 2006
 June 2006
 May 2006
 April 2006
 March 2006
 February 2006
 January 2006
 December 2005
 November 2005
 October 2005
 September 2005
 August 2005
 July 2005
 June 2005
 May 2005
 April 2005
 March 2005

Site Extras

© 2003 - 2006 The E.W. Scripps Co.
Privacy Policy | User Agreement
EEO Public File: 2004 | 2005 | 2006

DIY Network

Fine Living

Food Network

Comparison Shop for Cosmetics and Bedroom Furniture at Shopzilla &