El Niño Will Dominate Winter '23-'24, But What Is It?

Shutterstock/Feng Yu

If you're a skier who reads skiing news, odds are you've seen the term "El Niño" a lot this fall.

Maybe you read a forecast that says the El Niño will bring loads of snow to Colorado. Or read a forecast that says the opposite. Meteorology, it turns out, is an inexact science, particularly when discussing weather events weeks or months in the future.

But these forecasts often don't discuss the specifics of what an El Niño actually is. Here's the lowdown on this natural phenomenon from National Geographic.

There you have it: El Niño's describe warmer than average water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.

In a September 25th update, NOAA stated that it believes that current El Niño conditions will continue through March of 2024 "with greater than a 95% chance" in North America.

Unlike some forecasting groups, NOAA tends to go pretty broad with its winter weather forecasts. The trends it suggests we should anticipate are warm and dry conditions in the north and northwest United States (sorry, Washington and Montana skiers), with wetter weather in the southeast. To check out their month-by-month El Niño winter forecast for 2023 and 2024, click here.

Just remember, no forecaster -- no matter how good -- has a crystal ball.

Don't miss another headline from POWDER! Subscribe to our newsletter and stay connected with the latest happenings in the world of skiing.

We're always on the lookout for amusing, interesting and engaging ski-related videos to feature on our channels. Whether you're a professional or just an amateur, we want to see your best footage and help you share it with the world. Submit your video for a chance to be featured on POWDER and our social channels. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch high-quality ski videos.