You can plan the perfect picnic, but you can’t predict the weather. However, experts have enough information to foresee trends for next year.
2023 has given the world one of the hottest years on record, so what’s in store for 2024? What extreme weather events will happen next year?
Here’s what to expect.
Next year’s weather stems from a few factors — notably El Niño. What will these phenomena bring? Here are six predictions for 2024.
El Niño will be the driving force behind 2024’s weather. The full name for this weather occurrence is El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). ENSO primarily affects the Pacific Ocean, thus causing concern for America’s West Coast, South America, Australia and Southeast Asia.
El Niño brings warmer ocean water in contrast to La Niña, the cooling phase of ENSO. The last three years have brought either weak or moderate versions of La Niña, whereas the previous El Niño was in 2018-2019. Not every year sees ENSO, but the 2023-2024 period will. The question scientists have is how strong this warm phase will be. Since the 1950s, the Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) has only seen a very strong El Niño three times, with the last coming in 2015-2016.
As of now, scientists believe this year’s El Niño will fall into the strong category. However, it could become even more potent and match 2016 levels. What will this mean for America and the rest of the world?
The most immediate consequence will be a warmer winter for much of the United States. The Northwest and Northeast will likely experience above-normal temperatures in December, January and February. In contrast, experts foresee the southern half of the U.S. to have a mix of below and above-normal temperatures.
The regions expecting snow will still likely see a white Christmas. However, the Northeast should anticipate a milder year than usual of snow. These areas include the mid-Atlantic and New England.
El Niño typically brings more rainfall to the Pacific Coast, but that will only be true for the southern regions. Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix can expect more precipitation this winter, but Pacific Northwest residents will likely see much drier weather. This region typically sees wet conditions, but the Pacific Ocean’s jet stream divides two ways. Unfortunately, Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Montana will be drier.
Drier weather is not what the Pacific Northwest needs to see. Washington, Oregon and Northern California see wildfires yearly, typically in the summer. These fires could worsen if El Niño persists until next July. While wildfires are more common in the summer, they can happen at any time of the year.
Seattle, Milwaukee and Detroit are more likely to see drier conditions. However, Atlanta, Miami and New Orleans can expect more rainfall this winter. The diverted jet stream will send more precipitation to the Deep South, increasing the risk of floods. Hurricane season ends in November, so these torrential storms shouldn’t be an issue. Tropical cyclone activity in December is too weak to produce hurricanes, but the rainfall remains a concern in areas at or below sea level.
This winter’s increased rainfall projection should spell true from Los Angeles to Miami to New York City. The precipitation doesn’t directly lead to more snow because these cities already have mild climates in the winter. Southern cities like Dallas, Birmingham and Atlanta could see snow, but El Niño won’t change this outcome.
Other countries and continents besides the United States will feel the ramifications of El Niño. For example, South American countries will likely see increases in rainfall totals this winter and spring. The jet stream sending rainfall to the southern United States should also affect the Pacific Coast of South America. The precipitation could increase crop yields if the region sees more rain. However, flooding can ruin outcomes for Latin American farmers.
While South America should get more rain, Asian and Oceanic countries won’t be so lucky. El Niño will cause droughts in Australia, Southeast Asia and some African nations. This prediction won’t be welcome among the general population because these regions are crucial for crop production. Rice, sugar and coffee beans are some items America gets from this region, so lower yields could lead to price surges.
El Niño is coming, and you cannot do much to stop it. The next stage is wondering how long it will last. El Niño and La Niña typically last nine months to a year, but this weather event could hang on for two years or more. Predicting how long El Niño will stick around this time is difficult, but it’s likely to impact both sides of the Pacific Ocean through 2024.
2023 set records for temperatures, and not in a good way. For example, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration said this past July was hotter than any previous seventh month since humans began tracking weather patterns in 1880. El Niño’s residual effects will likely result in even higher temperatures in 2024. Some survivalists may welcome the warm weather, but the heat can be dangerous in places like the American Southwest.
Extreme weather events aren’t optimal, but they’ll be a reality in 2024 and beyond. You’ll most likely see droughts or flooding, depending on your area. Either way, you must prepare yourself and your family. Here are four tips for staying ready for unpredictable weather.
The first thing you should do is keep up with what’s going on in your area. Local meteorologists are your best bet for interpreting weather patterns and determining what the next best steps are for your family. These trained professionals anticipate storms, droughts, tornadoes and more. However, if the power, internet or cable goes out, you must find other sources.
The most reliable emergency device is a weather radio. This gadget provides timely updates on storms, flooding and other emergencies from El Niño. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) runs the National Weather Service (NWS) with 24-hour feeds nationwide. Your local station will most likely have a frequency of 162.
Weather radios are beneficial because they’re portable and work nearly anywhere. If El Niño’s floods are bad enough, you may need to locate shelter in another city. Be sure you bring this device along.
Survivalists are among the most prepared groups when expecting bad weather. You should use your skills to help your community before and after storms hit. However, a town shouldn’t only prepare for one event. Communities should build climate resiliency solutions and develop evacuation plans as weather patterns evolve nationwide.
Communities can start their climate resiliency solutions by applying for federal grants and state programs. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) assists disadvantaged communities by overhauling their transportation infrastructure. Areas receiving funding can start projects to increase mobility and reduce pollution, thus helping them thrive despite the worsening conditions.
You may need to leave your town for safety if the situation is dire. A functional vehicle is essential for your escape, especially if you live in a rural area. The last thing you want is a dead battery or flat tire when it’s time to hit the road. Here are some steps for auto maintenance you should use:
- Spark plugs: Your spark plugs ignite the gas and air mixture to crank the car. If you have trouble turning the ignition, dead spark plugs may be the issue. Replace them once every 30,000 miles to ensure your engine fires correctly.
- Gas tank: The demand for gas skyrockets when a town expects severe weather. Avoid the long lines and price gouging by storing extra cans. While gasoline has a shelf life, you can extend it using fuel stabilizers. Stabilized fuel lasts one to three years, bailing you out in emergencies.
- Tire pressure: Fuel efficiency will be crucial when evacuating because you might not have time to stop for gas. Ensure your tire pressure meets the manufacturer’s recommendations to enhance fuel economy. Properly inflated tires improve gas mileage because your car faces less rolling resistance on the road.
Evacuation isn’t always an option, forcing you to stick it out at home. Fortunately, there are ways to fortify your house ahead of El Niño.
Inspect your home for cracks in the doors and windows if your area anticipates floods. Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal these gaps and protect your house from heavy rains. Your roof is also worth an inspection to keep your residence dry.
You should check your plumbing systems for any leaks if droughts are a concern. Water conservation is crucial, so you should ensure your home isn’t wasting this precious resource. A rainwater collection system is also a good idea to provide your family and plants with water when the supply is low.
The world hasn’t seen El Niño in a few years, but this weather phenomenon has already made its presence known in 2023. It will bring warmer weather to much of the nation while dividing the country between extra rainfall and droughts. These predictions foretell what to expect next year, so prepare yourself and your family wisely.