El Nino is back!

By Derek Kinkade   - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The classic Chris Farley bit on Saturday Night Live aside, El Nino has less to do with tropical storms more to do with weather all over the planet.

El Nino is the name given to the weather patterns that develop after waters off the coast of South America warm to well above their average temperature. This is a natural climate pattern, and one that happens every four to seven years.  It's also a process that's difficult to explain.

When these ocean waters get warmer than normal, it sets off a chain reaction that alters weather patterns from one side of the world to the other.

Here in the southeast, we can expect to have warmer than normal weather this fall and early winter, cooler and wetter conditions next year, and a possible increase in the number of tornadoes next spring.

Another impact may be a below average hurricane season this year due to stronger winds over the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico which would help to tear storms apart before they can form.

Any meteorologist will tell you, when when it comes to the influence of a global climate pattern, they can't tell you exactly how things will work out in the coming months; they can only talk about the trends.

It won't rain every day next year, it will still be cold from time to time this winter, and we'll still have some tropical storms and hurricanes to deal with this summer and into fall.  Meteorologists will be watching things closely to see how it all plays out.