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Return of El Niño May Suppress Hurricanes

El Niño will develop between July and December
March 29, 2017

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that there is a 50 percent to 55 percent chance that El Niño will develop between July and December and impact weather across the United States. If El Niño develops, it could have implications on the upcoming hurricane season and the overall weather pattern across North America into next winter.

“Transitioning out of winter can be very difficult for the weather models to handle, so you can get misdiagnosed in the months of February, March, and April especially,” said AccuWeather lead long range meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

El Niño is not expected to reach its peak until late in the fall or early winter. During an El Niño year, the winds at the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere are not favorable for the development of a tropical system in the Atlantic hurricane basin, said Pastelok. These disruptive winds can limit the number of tropical systems that develop, leading to a below-normal year. During a stronger El Niño, storm systems typically track across the southern United States and out to sea rather up the East Coast, which lowers the chance of a major winter storm, such as a nor'easter.