Explaining the El Niño climate pattern and its impact on weather around the world

NOW: Explaining the El Niño climate pattern and its impact on weather around the world

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- After three nasty winters, some good news: the La Niña weather pattern -- which typically takes Wisconsin temperatures down and adds more snow -- is over.

With the rain, and more cold temperatures on the way, we may be feeling weather fatigue. But get ready to smile, forecasters say a new weather pattern called, "El Niño," could leave us warmer and drier overall.

"If you aren't as big of a fan of the cold and snow, El Niño might be more of your friend," said Clark Evans, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

El Niño could make Wisconsin's next winter slightly warmer, a happy thing for these folks outside Milwaukee's Public Market Thursday, March 16.

"Been done since it started man...ready for Summerfest!" said Nick Amodei.

"Just naturally you get tired of it you know after a while," said Mohamad Almufti.

Wisconsin tends to feel the effects of La Niña and El Niño mostly in the winter months but can be noted during spring and summer too.

"It's really difficult to say. In a big global sense, we're talking changes in temperature of a couple of degrees. So on average one might expect it to be slightly warmer than normal," said Evans.

La Niña, which started in 2020, saw more than a dozen hurricanes and tropical storms in the U.S., leaving billions of dollars in damages.

"Here, there's not a huge impact. Further to the south there can be. So in the traditional tornado alley, La Niña conditions tend to have stronger or more active tornado seasons while El Niño ones tend to be weaker," said Evans.

El Niño will draw warmer water near the equator and along the coastline of South America. 

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