How could El Nino affect winter in Indiana?

(Provided Photo/NOAA)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has published a side-by-side map comparison of the strongest El Nino on record versus the one that is developing now. The image shows striking similarities between the two, and there are signs that a possible repeat of that El Nino could happen by this coming fall or winter. According to NOAA, this could be the strongest El Nino in the past 50 years.

El Nino refers to the abnormal warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean. That warming can heavily influence weather patterns in the United States, especially in the winter months, depending on the strength of El Nino, plus other ocean and upper-air weather circulations.

So, the question you might ask is, “What will our winter season look like if we have a really strong El Nino?”

There is still uncertainty about just how strong this El Nino will be, plus there are other elements that could impact the winter outlook.

Having said that, National Weather Service records show that the winter of 1997-98 went down as the seventh warmest winter and saw the fifth lowest snowfall total in Indianapolis on record, which dates back to 1871. If something similar were to occur this winter, it would be a far cry from the past two winter seasons which were overall cold and snowy.

Stay with Storm Track 8 as we will keep you posted on changes in these patterns in the months ahead. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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