You probably have heard of the terms “El Nino” and “La Nina” tossed around by meteorologists when they are talking about long-range forecasts. But what are El Nino and La Nina, and how do they impact our weather?

El Nino and La Nina are phases of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). It is an ocean current in the tropical Pacific Ocean. La Nina is the cool phase of the ocean current and El Nino is the warm phase. These phases are closely tracked because they can impact the weather in the United States.

Meteorologists that monitor ENSO have determined that the cool phase (La Nina) is over and we are transitioning into the warm phase (El Nino). The forecast is for El Nino to stick around through the rest of 2023. This is big news because we have been in the La Nina phase for the last three years.

How is El Nino going to affect our weather in the United States and Arkansas?

During times when ENSO is in its warm phase, we normally see a less active Atlantic Hurricane season. This could lead to below-average precipitation in the late summer and early fall here in Arkansas.

Usually, during an El Nino winter, the northern part of the United States will see warmer than normal temperatures. For Arkansas, we normally see above-average precipitation and cooler-than-average temperatures.

Overall, Arkansas won’t see big impacts, but it’s cool that ocean temperatures from thousands of miles away could affect our weather.

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