National Weather Service


From the National Weather Service:

El Niño and the 2015-16 Winter Outlook

So we reached 70 degrees in November! Not a rare event, but certainly not common either. We thought it would be interesting to look back at Winter seasons following Novembers with at least one 70 degree day since 1950 and see if there were any trends in the following Winter months of December, January and February. We also looked at these conditions during moderate and strong El Nino events to see what happened. Unfortunately the sample size for El Nino winters is very small and no statistical significance can be associated with any of these numbers.



El Niño is expected to be strong and have a significant influence on the jet stream and weather patterns across the United States, including our local area of Northern Indiana, Southwest Lower Michigan and Northwest Ohio. Below is a summary of El Niño, a list of past events, the seasonal outlooks and a look at our local temperatures, precipitation, and snowfall during moderate or stronger events.

This page will be updated through the winter.

What is El Niño?

El Niño is the warm phase of a phenomena known as the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a periodical change in atmospheric conditions caused by variations in sea surface temperatures over the tropical Pacific Ocean. The cold phase is known as La Niña, while the lack of an El Niño or La Niña is called the Neutral phase. During an El Niño, the ocean surface in the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean typically warms by a few degrees Celcius above the long term normal. This occurs because of a change in the winds over the equatorial Pacific. Changes occur on the time frame of several months to as long as a year. For more detailed information on how and why El Niño develops, visit the NOAA El Niño Portal.

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