As you know if you’ve been following this blog, an El Niño appears to be forming in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and is expected to develop over the next couple of months and last through the winter (gory details of the technical discussion can be found at http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf).
A number of forecasters are expecting that unlike a traditional El Niño, where the warmest water is in the eastern part of the ocean, we may see a “Modoki” event occur instead. In a “Modoki” event, the warmest water occurs farther to the west in the central Pacific Ocean near the International Date Line. This changes the position of the subtropical jet stream which pushes winter storms, clouds and precipitation around, and could mean more cold outbreaks for the Southeast this year than in a traditional El Niño. It also means that it is less likely that we will have a very wet winter than we might under a regular El Niño. You can read more about Modoki events at Minnesota Public Radio’s Updraft blog at https://blogs.mprnews.org/updraft/2018/10/winter-wild-card-el-nino-modokievent-possible/ and read more details about the differences between the two types of events at Firsthand Weather in an article from last summer at http://firsthandweather.com/3796/winter-2018-2019-discussion-modoki-el-nino/.