El Niño shields Florida from hurricanes yet floods it during dry seasons.
El Niño is expected to protect Florida against tropical cyclones during hurricane season, although its impact is greater in winter.
In El Niño years, the Pacific warms and trade winds lessen. Deep tropical thunderstorms in the Pacific move, disrupting higher air patterns.
South Florida skies are roiled by the jet stream as it flows south across the Gulf of Mexico.
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For a significant El Niño occurrence, the Pacific must warm by 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above normal.
A recent weekly reading put it 1.7 degrees Celsius (3 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal, according to University of Miami assistant scientist Emily Becker.
"It may seem like a small shift, but water can hold a lot of heat," Transient weather patterns can modify or override weak El Niño episodes.
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