Thanks for taking time to check out the blog and for your interest in Kansas weather. We continue to hear a great deal about El Nino. Questions I get asked are 1) How bad will it be this winter and 2) When will El Nino start impacting the weather?
You can see the comparison being made between the 1997/98 El Nino and the current setup. (Click on any image to make it larger) We discussed this in an earlier blog post, but the winter of 97/98 was a snowy one for a big part of the state. The warmer water has an impact on the sea surface heights, which will in turn have a strong influence on the weather patterns in the upper atmosphere. And there is still a chance this thing will get stronger before it starts to weaken in early 2016. I would expect that within the next 30-40 days, we will start seeing the impact of El Nino on the pattern. Most long range predictions are calling for wet and stormy into the winter season, but so far, it's been anything but. We continue to watch and see if that will change. Some long range models are hinting at a changeover to a stormy pattern, but we need more time to study what's showing up before drawing conclusions.
A strong cold front will push through Thursday and look at what it does for our temperatures Friday and Saturday. A big chunk of cold air will slide across the Great Lakes and into the Northeast this weekend. Some early flakes of snow are even possible (near the Great Lakes). This will be a dramatic change around Kansas, but that's just because it's been so warm thus far in October.
Early next week, the pattern does change, and with the winds turning back to the west/southwest, our chances for moisture will return. Many areas need it. Since early September, there are areas that have been missed altogether, so the rain can't come soon enough. One system will come through over the weekend, but it will only bring some clouds. A second, more potent system, will arrive Monday/Tuesday with chances for rain and a few thunderstorms.