Weather service predicts chance for cool, wet El Nino winter in Oklahoma

The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center has issued an El Nino watch. El Nino, a weather phenomenon related to ocean water temperatures, typically means a cooler and wetter than normal winter in Oklahoma.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Modified: June 11, 2012 at 10:32 pm •  Published: June 11, 2012
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It was warm, but mercifully wet, in Oklahoma during the traditional cool season that ended this spring. More moisture could be coming Oklahoma's way next winter, but with colder temperatures as a companion.

The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center issued an El Nino watch last week because of warmer than normal waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

The El Nino phenomenon typically means colder and wetter than normal conditions in Oklahoma from the following October to March, said Gary McManus, associate state climatologist.

La Nina, which occurs due to cooler than normal water temperatures and is the opposite of El Nino, was in effect during the last two winters.

The likelihood of El Nino occurring this winter is about 50 percent, with lesser chances for neutral water temperatures or a slide back into La Nina.

“It does look like it's going to continue to warm up down there,” McManus said.

El Nino's effects here usually come from storms that form in the Pacific, McManus said.

“I always remember when we had an El Nino, (former “The Tonight Show” host) Johnny Carson would be making jokes about all the rich people washing away on the coast,” McManus said.

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