Brewing El Niño could bring good snow season to southern Colorado resorts
A good winter could be in store for southern Colorado ski resorts that endured drought last season, thanks to a reappearance of the climate phenomenon known as El Niño in the Pacific Ocean.
Weather forecasters and climatologists say it’s too soon to say with reliability what kind of snowfall patterns are likely for Colorado, but a report issued this month by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center said a weak El Niño is forming and is expected to build through the winter.
The building El Niño — the weather pattern that occurs when surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific are above average — may be responsible for a series of tropical storms in the eastern Pacific in recent weeks.
El Niño cycles tend to favor storm tracks from the Pacific that move across the southern U.S., and in some years that bodes well for southern Colorado resorts. Last winter featured a mild La Niña — the opposite of El Niño — which is related to below-normal Pacific surface temperatures. Northern Colorado resorts had near-normal snowfall while southern Colorado suffered.
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