The latest ENSO forecast shows that neutral conditions are much more likely than either La Niña or El Niño conditions for the next few months. While it’s tough to predict this earlier in the year, usually by August we have a pretty good sense of where the ENSO system will go for the next few months. While there is still some chance of La Niña and a small but not zero chance of El Niño, neutral conditions are much more likely to occur.
For the Southeast, this means that non-tropical climate influences like North Atlantic and Pacific Ocean temperatures will affect the weather patterns that occur this winter, making prediction of climate conditions in our area harder to do. Statistically, we can’t really say that either colder or warmer than usual conditions are more likely. We do know that in neutral winters, a late spring frost is more likely, which is not good news for fruit growers that have had a tough time for the last two winters. Neutral conditions are also contributing to the active Atlantic tropical season we are in right now.