In Louisiana what doe those words, "El Nino and La Nina" even mean? Sure we hear the terms discussed a lot around hurricane season. And most of us from Cameron to Golden Meadow know that one of those terms means more hurricanes and the other means less hurricanes but to be honest, it's hard to tell them apart.

Simone Secci via Unsplash.com
Simone Secci via Unsplash.com
loading...

As you have probably figured out Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf South, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and surrounding states are soon to have our weather influenced by what is defined as an El Nino weather pattern.

The fact is, we already are beginning to feel the effects of a shift from La Nina to El Nino. And while those phenomenon occur thousands of miles away, they affect the weather in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Monroe too. That is not Monroe pictured below.

zillow.com
zillow.com
loading...

What Does an El Nino Weather Pattern Mean for Louisiana?

The biggest change we should notice from last year to this year is rainfall. You probably recall rain across much of Louisiana was pretty scarce. The first few weeks of 2024 have already done a lot to put a dent in the rainfall deficit overall. And we should note that one of the calling cards of a typical El Nino cycle is heavier than normal rainfall, especially in the Gulf South.

The Climate Prediction Center has issued their latest outlook for the upcoming three months. Here is a picture of what the CPC is expecting.

cpc.ncep.noaa.gov
cpc.ncep.noaa.gov
loading...

Louisiana certainly is in the green shaded area. No, it's not the darkest green but still the suggestion is that our rainfall amounts will be higher than average. As the El Nino pattern builds in and becomes more robust we could certainly experience rain events that could cause flash flooding or flooding on certain waterways.

Hurricane Ian, NOAA
Hurricane Ian, NOAA
loading...

How Will El Nino Influence Hurricane Season in Louisiana?

Historically a strong El Nino pattern creates an increase in winds at the upper levels of the atmosphere. As those winds blow from west to east across the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean they can inhibit the formation of tropical cyclones. In other words, El Nino patterns can influence hurricane development and strengthening.

Remember that scenario is not always the case. Some of Louisiana's most active hurricane seasons have come during El Nino weather patterns. In fact, one forecast outlet has already published their 2024 seasonal outlook and it predicts that Louisiana will be threatened by three different tropical systems.

Please remember that is a long-range outlook and there are issues with the accuracy of any forecast that is issued that far in advance. However, this forecast outlet has an uncanny record for not getting it wrong.

sunny day
staff photo
loading...

Will It Be As Hot in Louisiana As It Was Last Year?

If the rainfall forecast holds true then the answer to that question should be a resounding "no". The cloud cover and rainfall would keep the area from record heatwaves and days and weeks of heat advisories. Here is what the Climate Prediction Center says of temperatures over the next three months.

ncep.cpc.noaa.gov
ncep.cpc.noaa.gov
loading...

Based on that graphic we can expect a fairly normal spring, at least if we measure normal by our thermometer. For those who garden you should be safe to plant in early March. The chance of the I-10 corridor experiencing a temperature below 36 degrees drops to about 50/50 on March 4th. If you're a "Nervous Nelly" you can wait until after March 15th and really be on the safe side.

What is Good About El Nino for Louisiana?

The tendency to weaken or blow apart hurricanes is a good attribute. The fact that our farmers won't experience another drought is good aspect as well. Of course, rain in spring and summer will mean ample water for crawfish come fall and winter. That will be nice after this year's train wreck of a season too. Just let's hope we don't get too much rain. It's possible during El Nino patterns.

robbiefishing Via YouTube
robbiefishing Via YouTube
loading...

Will all of that happen? We can't say for certain but much smarter folks than us are examining the data every day so we can report it to you. In the meantime, hurricane season doesn't start until June 1st and we've got at least one more good cold snap we've got to get through until we can start mowing the yard and dealing with seasonal allergies.

10 Snowiest Cities in Louisiana

It may not snow much each year in Louisiana, but we do get some occasionally. Which cities and towns get the most though? We answer with statistics from Saturday Night Science and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). (The list below is only towns/cities with at least a population of 5,000 people.)

Gallery Credit: Jude Walker

More From Classic Rock 105.1