A strong El Niño has brought Hawaii an active hurricane season and a very wet summer.
This winter, the global weather phenomenon is forecast to bring Hawaii dry conditions and a higher-than-normal number of tradewind-free days.
That’s according to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, which on Thursday released its weather outlooks through the spring.
Robert Ballard, NWS-Honolulu science and operations officer, said the weather predictions are in fitting with classic strong El Niño traits.
El Niño is driven by warm surface water in the Eastern Pacific, and typically causes Hawaii to have a wetter-than-normal summer and a drier-than-normal winter.
How dry will Hawaii’s winter be? The National Weather Service says drought conditions are “likely” by the end of February.
The dry weather will mean Hawaii will have “a lot more days where the trades are absent,” Ballard said. On those tradewind-free days, mornings will be cool but temperatures will rise by the afternoon. The light winds could also mean more vog -- or volcanic smog -- days on Oahu.
“When we get deeper into winter, conditions are going to dry out,” he said. “That’s not to say the whole winter is going to be like that.”
The National Weather Service outlook also said Hawaii’s sea surface temperatures are right now about 1 to 2 degrees above normal.
Near the equator, sea temperatures are 5 degrees above normal, which means this El Niño could create the strongest conditions on record.
Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center, told The Guardian that’s the highest reading since 1990, when data started to be collected. The previous highest reading was 2.8 degrees above average in November 1997.