El Niño Map Predicts U.S. Winter Weather

That basic picture makes sense. The turbo-charged southern jet stream route usually makes the South wetter in winter. If the weather is cold enough, it may snow or ice more often.

Less snowfall in the north is caused by the polar jet stream diverting into western Canada, resulting in warmer and/or drier conditions.

Based on National Weather Service data since 1950, orange/yellow/blue dots show places with snowier seasons (fall-spring) during El Niño/neutral/La Niña. (NOAA/ACIS)

These snowfall figures are for five cities in the snowier El Niño zone, from Arizona to the nation's capital.

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In all cases, El Niño winters were snowier, but a stronger one caused much more snow in all places except Washington, D.C.

If this pattern maintains, the mid-Atlantic would vary drastically from last winter. Philadelphia (0.3 inch) and Washington D.C. (0.4 inch) experienced exceptionally little snowfall in 2022-23 due to a weaker La Niña.

Snowfall in Spokane, Washington, was nearly 18 inches lower during strong El Niños compared to average. Chicago lost nearly a foot of snow.

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