El Niño is a climate phenomenon characterized by the periodic warming of sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.
According to this article from CNN, "El Niño is forecast to be strong this winter and reach the most significant level since a very strong El Niño fostered the warmest winter on record across the US mainland during 2015-2016..." A graphic accompanying the article shows Colorado experiencing a wetter winter.
Here's what an El Niño winter typically means for us in Colorado:
Increased Precipitation in the West
El Niño can bring increased precipitation to the southwestern United States, including California. However, this doesn't necessarily translate to more snow in mountainous regions. Warmer temperatures associated with El Niño can mean that some of the precipitation falls as rain rather than snow in the mountains, affecting snowpack and winter sports.
It's important to note that El Niño is just one of many factors that influence winter weather patterns, and its effects can vary from one event to another. Other climate phenomena, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Arctic Oscillation (AO), can also impact winter weather conditions. Additionally, the strength and duration of the El Niño event can influence the extent of its effects on winter weather.