The Oceanic Nino Index values came out on Tuesday. The ONI is the method used to measure the character of the ENSO event, which in this case is clearly a moderate El Nino. Earlier numerical model impressions for the so-called “Super El Nino” have been thrown into the garbage bin of forecasting, and it now appears that the top range will stay between +1.0 and +1.5 deg C above normal for sea surface temperatures in the various sections of the Pacific Basin. So now we have to figure out how the episode will affect North America in terms of actual weather.
We have already seen how the westerly flow impartation associated with the warm equatorial waters has limited tropical cyclone activity and intensity in the Atlantic Basin. Now comes the alteration of the mid-latitude storm tracks. It is early in the game, but if you look at precipitation forecasts for California and the Southwest, it appears warm and dry. Interaction between a disturbed area below Mexico and Central America shows up on model depictions in both the medium range and the longer term. Late next week, a tropical system gets pulled into a frontal structure, leading to heavy rain threats for Mexico and Texas. And, by extension, the Deep South and Eastern Seaboard. Is this the trend for the coming winter?
There are too many questions on that matter, but the amplitude of ridging into the +PNA and -NAO sectors is something that we must keep an eye on. But again, California is the key! Heavy rain and storms in the CAISO districts are a bearish signal for most energy markets in the DJFM semester. Autumn ridges in the Golden State can be a bullish indicator.