SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – After a mild start to the summer months, a warm-up is welcomed by many. For most of June, the temperatures were below average before increasing by the late part of June.
This stretch was only felt for a few days before the cooler temperatures set back in. By July, only two weeks’ temperatures were above average before dropping below 90 degrees, the average temperature for Springfield in July. August then started below average in the low to mid-80s before a mini-heatwave came. Now another heatwave is here, which was first felt the second to last weekend in August.
During this hot week in August, some people may be wondering, will this type of heat continue? The Climate Prediction Center, CPC, looks down the pipe for a time of three months out. This would mean they predicted the months of September, October, November.
The CPC analyzes different anomalies such as the sea surface temperatures, SST. The SST has a couple of tracks it could be on. The first El Niño is identified by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.
Trade winds, push winds east to west, pushing the warm water to the west. However, with El Niño, the trade winds weaken, and the warm water gets pushed to the east. This displays the jetstream southward. The Pacific Coast is warm water that makes up a “horseshoe” and in the middle of the shoe is cooler water. El Niño typically peaks during the winter months.
On average, the winter months for the southeast will experience below-average temperatures with more precipitation. While, northwest will experience warmer, drier conditions.
Next, is La Niña which is the opposite of El Niño, which is identified by unusually cool ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific. The trade winds pick up and sometimes become stronger than normal, pushing the warm water to the west. This displays the jetstream northward.
The Pacific Coast experiences cooler water while the warmer water is in the middle of the “horseshoe.” This can lead to drought in the southern US. This pattern brings cooler temperatures, rain, and flooding to the pacific northwest.
On average, individuals living in the southeast will experience warmer, drier conditions; while, the northwest will experience cooler, wetter conditions. Finally, the last and most common pattern is neutral.
El Niño and La Niña together are part of a cycle that influences extreme weather, and they impact weather in your backyard! It’s good to know what phase the SST is experiencing which can be helpful to determine droughts in the west, colder temperatures, or warmer temperatures. It can help determine what locations in the United States should prepare for what types of weather events.
According to the Climate Prediction Center, La Niña could emerge in between the August-October months: which could last through the winter months. Right now, neutral conditions are present in the equatorial Pacific, which will likely be for the remainder of the summer. However, there is evidence that the water is starting to decrease in temperature leaning towards La Niña.
The CPC looks at 30 years of climate and the SST. Temperature maps are shaded, with red and blue the deeper the color the better chance for having that probability in the future. Areas categories in the “A” are warmer or wetter by 33% or based on ten years of data out of the 30 years examined.
The “B” is the cooler or drier by 33% based on ten years out of the 30 years examined. The locations where forecasting tools are not available and could favor either the A or B this area is defined as “EC,” equal chances. Shading is used to indicate areas greater than 33.33%.
Looking at the map from the next three months, temperature probability is above average for most of the United States, including the Ozarks of Missouri. The region in the white-labeled “EC” has an equal chance to be above average temperatures.
The precipitation map depicted brown, green, and white. The brown represents below-average precipitation. The green, above-average precipitation and the white have equal chances for being above average.
The precipitation map shows the western United States below normal amounts for September, August, and November. While a decent portion of the United States is under an “EC” which means this area has equal chances for above-average precipitation. As of right now, the region looks to head in the direction with warmer temperatures and a better chance to be above average on precipitation for September through the month of November.