The Relevance of El Niño, Part 2 – What Kansas City Winters Tell Us About El Niño

2015 KC_10yr Snow Graph
Can you tell which winters were El Niño or La Nin᷉a induced?

You know what happens when you assume……

People assume that winters during El Niño cycles are mostly dry in the Midwest and that La Nin᷉a cycles keep us constantly shoveling and plowing.

If your businesses bottom-line or operational decisions are weather dependent, such assumptions are dangerous!

El Nino Winters

Remember the Christmas Blizzard of 2009*?   Well, that was a winter with a moderate El Niño (a strength of +1.3°C).  The overall winter in KC topped out at a whopping 44.3″ at KCI!  The 30 year normal is 18.9″.

The La Nin᷉a induced winters have also shown anomalies in Kansas City.  Three of those winters registered below normal snowfall.  One of them, 2011-12 had less than 4″ of snow – ALL winter!

La Nina Winters

Even the neutral years, with no El Niño or La Nin᷉a, failed to offer a conclusive relationship regarding snow accumulations.

Neutral Winter

Our meteorologists in-depth review of the last 10 years proves to business decision makers just how dangerous using only one variable, such as El Niño, can be when making operational assumptions regarding potential snowfall.


*Read more about how our meteorologists helped KCI Beat the Christmas Blizzard of 2009!

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