It’s looking like El Niño has grown up — at least for this winter.
The periodic warming of surface waters in the Pacific Ocean, and its influence on weather patterns across North America, continues to gain strength of potentially historic proportion.
“It’s in the ‘Big Boy’ category,” said Klaus Wolter, a University of Colorado climatologist who studies the phenomenon whose translation is Little Boy.
Colorado could see a mixed bag of weather events from now through next spring — including a strong possibility of snow by the end of the month, Wolter added.
An El Niño of the current scope, measured by water temperature and wind direction, hasn’t been seen since 1997-98. Wolter figures this could be the third-strongest since 1900, after the events of ’97-98 and ’82-83.
“It’s behind 1997 at this time of year, but not far behind,” he said, adding that it won’t dissipate anytime soon. “But will it stick around for spring? That’s a crapshoot right now.”