El Nino could make for moderate winter in Columbia

Thursday, October 22, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — While bland may not be desirable when it comes to cuisine, it sounds better as a description for winter weather.

Jim Kramper, National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist, said the upcoming winter in Missouri is shaping up as “rather bland” because of the influence of El Nino. He said Columbians should expect a cloudy winter with no extreme shifts in temperature.


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El Nino is warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, Pat Guinan, MU Extension climatologist, said.

These unusually warm temperatures cause a difference in trade winds and can normally occur every three to six years, Julie Phillipson of the National Weather Service said.

El Nino typically causes warmer-than-average temperatures across much of the western and central U.S.; above-average precipitation can be expected in the Gulf of Mexico and California.

Columbia is “right on the edge” of any temperature changes because of  El Nino, Kramper said, but this winter might be just a “shade” warmer than normal.

While Kramper expects the winter weather in the Columbia area to be fairly uneventful and mild, he also said residents should “prepare for winter as usual.”

“There is more uncertainty with regards to El Nino’s impact of temperature and precipitation patterns in Missouri than compared to other parts of the United States,” Guinan said.

The National Weather Service has designated Nov. 18 as Winter Weather Awareness Day. 

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