ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - El Nino, along with La Nina, are different phases of what is known as the El Nino Southern Oscillation, or ENSO cycle. ENSO is the overall fluctuation in temperatures between the ocean and the atmosphere, out in the eastern and central Equatorial Pacific. This phenomenon plays a role in weather patterns in the United States.
This typically occurs for approximately nine to twelve months at a time. There are some instances of El Nino occurring for years at a time. El Nino, along with La Nina, occur on average every approximately two to seven years and are referred to as the warm phase of the El Nino Southern Oscillation. These events usually occur during the winter time and can last for several months.
During the winter of 2018-19, according to multiple sources, the United States is under a very likely weak El Nino event. There is a 75-80 percent chance of it occurring. There is a 60 percent chance of it continuing during the spring of 2019, from roughly February to April, according to the CPC or Climate Prediction Center and NOAA or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
As far as impacts of El Nino to the Southeast US, this weather phenomenon brings wetter-than-average conditions and cooler weather. As mentioned previously, this weather phenomenon occurs roughly every two to seven years. It is a complex weather pattern that results from fluctuations in ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.