Strong El Nino predicted to diminish by summer - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Strong El Nino predicted to diminish by summer

Bob Ballard (Image: Hawaii News Now) Bob Ballard (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Image: Hawaii News Now Image: Hawaii News Now
Image Source: National Weather Service Image Source: National Weather Service
Image Source: Hawaii News Now Image Source: Hawaii News Now
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Hawaii has had a year of interesting weather, ranging from drought conditions to a record number of tropical cyclones and huge northwest swells.

All of that has come from a strong El Nino, one that is now forecast to diminish in the coming months.

"As far as Hawaii is concerned, El Nino followed the playbook almost to the letter," said National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Ballard. He said it delivered as advertised.

"Lots of North Shore surf events, which we were expecting," he said. "Prior to that we had a very, very busy hurricane season with lots of tropical cyclones, lots of threats to the islands."

El Nino contributed to the record hurricane season in the Central Pacific last year, with a total of 15 cyclones, including hurricanes, tropical storms and tropical depressions. It also brought record rainfall last summer. And it also had a hand in surf that brought the Eddie Aikau big wave surf competition. And just before that, it was responsible for huge and destructive surf that undermined homes and washed over highways.

"Swells that are that big are unusual, just because we haven't seen surf that big, and we were seeing record values on the buoys, values that we had never seen before."

According to the latest computer forecast models, the warmer than normal sea surface temperatures that come with an El Nino will decline. That's already reflected in the latest maps from the National Climate Prediction Center, which shows that the oceans are still warm, but are already cooling down. 

That will bring our weather back to more normal conditions.

"We may see fewer tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific basin," said Ballard. "We may not get some of the summer rains that we had last year. Now the good news is that it probably won't be as hot or as humid as last summer."

But Ballard also said that the current dry spell, also caused by El Nino, will continue into the summer.

Forecast models are also hinting that La Nina conditions -- where sea surface temperatures are cooler than normal -- could develop by the end of the year. If there is a La Nina, Hawaii could get stronger winter storms, something that has been lacking in this year's wet season.

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