After a cold and snowy winter, many here in Connecticut are hoping for an early and mild spring. The atmosphere, however, may have other ideas.
One of the biggest drivers over the global weather pattern in the coming weeks and months will be an El Nino in the Pacific Ocean.
El Nino, an area of warmer-than-normal water in the Equatorial Pacific, is showing big signs of coming to life after a several-year absence.
This El Nino may be a powerful one too. Several hundred feet under the ocean surface, near-record temperatures are being observed. This is a sign that this El Nino could be quite strong as the warm anomalies migrate to the surface.
Unusual warmth in the Pacific Ocean changes the global wind pattern, producing pockets of thunderstorms in some areas and not in others. When El Nino is strong, this forcing can effectively overwhelm the global circulation.
As El Nino strengthens, odds will favor a somewhat cooler-than-normal spring and early summer. Rainfall will be near normal.
If this El Nino becomes as powerful as the record 1997 El Nino (which is possible given the current trends), temperatures could average significantly below normal in the May through July period.
Here is a look at temperature and precipitation anomalies from May, June and July 1997.