We know El Niño will bring wet weather and warmer than average temperatures to parts of North America this winter, but it's really the timing of how those two interact that will determine just how successful this season is for ski areas. To get a sense of how that might play out over the course of the winter, Curbed Ski took long-range forecast maps from NOAA and put them together into animations. The precipitation map above shows how the likelihood of above average precipitation shifts across the southern U.S. through the heart of winter and into spring.
More on El Niño:
What Do You Need to Know About El Niño? These 10 Things.
Was El Niño the Cause of California's Latest Round of Snow?
There's a 90 Percent Chance We're Getting a Strong El Niño
Is El Niño the Solution to California's Drought?
Watch the Enormous El Niño Growing in the Pacific Right Now
In both GIFs, each image is a three-month snapshot of what the potential precipitation or temperature could be. The words in the left-hand corner tell you which three-month forecast you're looking at. For example, the image from DJF is the forecast for December, January, and February, while JFM is January, February, and March, and so on. Put them together in a GIF and you can see how the forecast changes over time.
The temperature map above shows how warming trends this winter could affect parts of ski country. This map is especially pertinent for Southern California and Alaska resorts, which could see their opportunity for above average precipitation thwarted by coinciding above average temperatures. And while some Pacific Northwest ski areas are upbeat about their chances during a strong El Niño, the forecast maps together don't paint the most optimistic picture for the region.
Like we wrote when first considering long-range forecast maps, the Southern Rockies look well positioned to benefit from precipitation and temperature trends this winter. What we know for sure, is that the early season El Niño has been great for Tahoe and a number of other ski areas.
· La Niñas Best for Mt. Hood, but El Niños Aren't Bad [Curbed Ski]
· Thanks to El Niño, California's Snowpack is Looking Good [Curbed Ski]
· Southern Swath of Ski Country Might See Early Season Precip [Curbed Ski]
· There's a 90 Percent Chance We're Getting a Strong El Niño [Curbed Ski]