Winter Is Coming

Know what the Weather Warlocks over at The National Weather Service were doing while you were taking a two-hour outdoor "working lunch" Thursday? They were issuing an El Niño watch.

While that may sound like a fun, themed Happy Hour where margaritas and apps are half-priced until 7, it actually means that El Niño weather conditions could develop by winter.

On the one hand, this is great. El Niño translates (NOT LITERALLY) to a less active hurricane season (giving everyone a breather) as well as a colder winter for the southern United States (I don't trust Matthew McConaughey and I say they deserve it).

On the other hand, it also tends to lead to very snowy winters for what are unequivocally the most important states: those in the Mid-Atlantic region.

That means we might have to think up all new Snowpocalypse/Snowmageddon/Jamaicanmecrazywithallthissnow jokes

As we learned in 2009—the last appearance of El Niño—those don't come easy.

(Another thing El Niño tends to do is wreak havoc on global markets, populations, and just generally the whole biosphere, variously crippling regions of the world with prolonged droughts (Australia and Asia) or unrelenting rains (South America). And, while it does lower the probability of Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, it raises the probability that cyclones and typhoons will develop in the Pacific. Womp womps all around.)

At the moment, the Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center warns there's about a 50/50 chance El Niño will develop by next winter, which is exactly the same thing as saying "El Niño Might or Might Not Develop."

Per The Baltimore Sun:

Whether an El Nino is declared depends on surface water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator. Warmer-than-normal temperatures bring on El Nino, while cooler-than-normal temperatures lead to La Niña.

But don't get all excited about La Niña. That bitch's cycle ended in April, and there's no indication we're due to enter another one so soon.

In the meantime, do or do not get prepared for a very snowy or snow-less or wet or dry winter depending on where you do or do not live.

[National Weather Service via NPR // Baltimore Sun // NASA // Image via Shutterstock/Daniel Loretto]