AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — La Niña weather pattern has officially ended and we have transitioned into the ENSO- neutral phase as this pattern presented from the summer of 2020 to early March 2023.
“For us having a La Niña three years in a row, it really exacerbated our drought conditions,” said KAMR Local 4’s Chief Meteorologist John Harris. “But the good news is we’re finally out of this La Niña, and we’re going back to a neutral phase and that will help to give us better chances or equal chances for precipitation.”
The ENSO-neutral phase means we are not in a La Niña pattern or El Niño pattern.
“It’s not anticipated to last very long,” said National Weather Service of Amarillo Meteorologist in Charge Michael Gittinger. “At this point the highest probability event is that it will be an El Niño by the time we get to late summer or early fall. There’s about a 60% chance of having an El Niño condition at that point.”
La Niña and El Niño weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean can affect not just weather here locally, but weather worldwide. La Niña refers to below-normal temperatures along the tropical Pacific Ocean and El Niño refers to above-normal temperatures along the tropical Pacific Ocean.
“What that does is La Niña tends to be in a drier pattern. It affects the jet streams in a way that’s negative for seeing precipitation in this area,” said Gittinger. “El Niño tends to provide patterns that are more favorable for more normal rainfall patterns.”
Without La Niña and El Niño in place, it can make spring weather even more unpredictable, depending on how fast this transition takes.
Gittinger added, “Severe weather season is kind of up in the air because we’re in this transition currently. So if we were to transition quickly, it would suggest there’s potential for having a more active severe season.”
Harris said if we use history as a guideline and if the neutral phase lines up with spring, then there is a good probability of a normal severe weather season. This would mean more chances for heavy downpours, more hail, more high winds, and tornadoes could be a concern.
For the latest Amarillo news and regional updates, check with MyHighPlains.com and tune in to KAMR Local 4 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. and Fox 14 News at 9:00 p.m. CST.