When we last checked in on the snowpack in the west, Lake Tahoe had benefitted from consistent storms that produced above-average snow. To the relief of California skiers everywhere, that trend has continued. And although the full effects of a super El Niño won't be felt until mid-December, the strength of this year's El Niño is no longer debated. So what does it all mean? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's (NOAA) latest update, this year's El Niño continues to strengthen and will likely be one of the strongest on record. Ski areas in California, New Mexico, and southern Colorado are posed for an epic season.
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
Watch the Enormous El Niño Growing in the Pacific Right Now
Let's simplify things a bit: in the map above, skiers and snowboarders are looking for blue. Green isn't too bad either, as it means that the region's snowpack is about average. As of December 1, most of Colorado looks good, southern Utah has picked up a lot more snow than northern Utah, and Tahoe is still sitting pretty with about 117 percent of normal. As one might expect in an El Niño year (although we won't see how this all plays out until later), the northern part of the west is dryer. Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington and Montana aren't in dire straights yet, but they do have below average snowpack.
Good news for the Northwest, however: the recent dry pattern is ending. Head over here for the full forecast.
· National Weather and Climate Center [Official Site]
· ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions [NOAA]