Forecasters say elusive el nino clouds winter outlook - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Forecasters say elusive el nino clouds winter outlook

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -

Winter is less than one month away, yet there is quite a bit of uncertainty in what we can expect during the season.

It seems far-fetched, but ocean water off the coast of South America plays a major role in the Region 8 winter season.

The ice storm of 2009 happened when an area of the Pacific Ocean warmed significantly during the month of November, causing el nino conditions to strengthen.

Ben Schott with the Memphis National Weather Service says they're now in uncharted water, due to normal ocean temperatures, which means a neutral el nino.

"This is the first time in the last 50 years that there's been a very significant record when it comes to el ninos and la ninas, where everything was pointing that we were easily going into an el nino season. And as we got into the fall, it just completely collapsed."

Long-term weather patterns are difficult to predict.

NWS Meteorologist-in-Charge Jim Belles is watching sea surface temperatures along the equator to see if the balance finally topples.

"It's looking like we have a greater probability right now of above average precipitation, which is probably really good news. Because last, much of the year has been below-average precipitation-wise. And then temperature-wise, we don't have a really good indication of any direction."

This extra precipitation could cause more harm than good.

Craighead County extension agent Branon Thiesse cringes at the thought of another ice storm.

He remembers hearing neighborhood trees snapping under the weight of the ice--and this year's exceptional drought has weakened most of them.

"After the 2009 ice storm, I hope we never see another one like that, as long as I'm here, because it was just devastating. People were without power for months. I don't know how they made it, other than just perseverance."

Thiesse adds that late fall is the perfect time to prepare for inclement weather.

Even if the ice storm of 2009 were to strike again, it would be difficult to match the damage.

"In a 3-year period, regrowth of tree branches over that have not occurred yet. And the number of power poles, I would like to think that all the ones that were weak, broke. And have been replaced with newer poles."

Click here for a safety and preparedness checklist.

More information from the Arkansas Extension Agency regarding the upcoming winter can be found here.

  • Region 8 News</span><a class="customMoreLink" href="/Global/category.asp?C=4391" target="_top">More >></a>Region 8 NewsMore>>

  • Officials release Branson boat tragedy victims' names

    Officials release Branson boat tragedy victims' names

    Saturday, July 21 2018 12:17 PM EDT2018-07-21 16:17:14 GMT
    Gov. Parson and emergency response officials will gave a news briefing on the Table Rock Lake recovery efforts. (Source: KFVS)Gov. Parson and emergency response officials will gave a news briefing on the Table Rock Lake recovery efforts. (Source: KFVS)

    The four missing bodies were found on Friday morning, July 20, bringing the total death toll to 17 after a duck boat capsized on Table Rock Lake.

    The four missing bodies were found on Friday morning, July 20, bringing the total death toll to 17 after a duck boat capsized on Table Rock Lake.

  • breaking

    UPDATE: Berger now in custody in connection with Independence County shooting

    UPDATE: Berger now in custody in connection with Independence County shooting

    Monday, July 16 2018 10:54 PM EDT2018-07-17 02:54:47 GMT
    Saturday, July 21 2018 12:03 PM EDT2018-07-21 16:03:46 GMT
    Joseph Bramblett and Michelle Bramblett (Source: Independence County Sheriff's Dept./Facebook)Joseph Bramblett and Michelle Bramblett (Source: Independence County Sheriff's Dept./Facebook)

    A shooting Monday night sent one man to the hospital and Independence County sheriff's deputies on the hunt for three people.

    A shooting Monday night sent one man to the hospital and Independence County sheriff's deputies on the hunt for three people.

  • Clover looking for luck to be on his side

    Clover looking for luck to be on his side

    Saturday, July 21 2018 8:34 AM EDT2018-07-21 12:34:32 GMT
    Saturday, July 21 2018 11:05 AM EDT2018-07-21 15:05:21 GMT
    Clover looks with sad eyes from his kennel at the NEAHS. (Source: NEAHS)Clover looks with sad eyes from his kennel at the NEAHS. (Source: NEAHS)
    Clover looks with sad eyes from his kennel at the NEAHS. (Source: NEAHS)Clover looks with sad eyes from his kennel at the NEAHS. (Source: NEAHS)

    Ten-week-old Lab mix is anxious to find a “furever” home.

    Ten-week-old Lab mix is anxious to find a “furever” home.

Powered by Frankly