ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — After three years, La Niña has officially come to an end, according to the Climate Prediction Center.
La Niña has influenced everything from recent active hurricane seasons to the recent drought developing across Florida. It's also one of the driving factors for the wet winter the West Coast has seen.
It's important to understand that these are large-scale global patterns that tend to impact the overall climate for a season. It is not responsible for our day-to-day weather.
With that being said, we are now transitioning from La Niña to a Neutral Phase. Cooler-than-normal sea temperatures in the eastern Pacific are now starting to warm. That means that we are forecast to be Neutral for spring into early summer. An eventual move to El Niño is forecast to happen this fall into next winter.
In the image above, you can see the grey bars indicating the Neutral Phase for the next few months. One as we hit July, August and September (JAS), El Niño becomes the most likely phase, in red, with a 55-60 percent chance that continues to increase into fall.
While this won't mean much for our weather this summer, it could bring impacts for fall into next winter. If El Niño can take over for fall, this would actually be good news. El Niño patterns tend to bring more wind shear across the Atlantic. In a typical El Niño pattern the Pacific jet stream will sit further south across the southern United States producing wind shear.
That wind shear can limit and weaken tropical development. Because of that, El Niño hurricane seasons tend to see fewer hurricanes and fewer named storms in total.
There are several other factors that impact how active a hurricane season will be, but this is one good sign as we head into summer and eventually fall.