ROANOKE, Va – An El-Nino watch isn't like a tornado or severe thunderstorm watch. Yes, it means that conditions are favorable for development like tornado and thunderstorm watches, but it's something that persists over several months and is a phenomenon that drives other weather patterns.
An El-Nino watch means that conditions are favorable for an El-Nino to develop over the next six months. The waters along the equator, just off the coast of Peru, continue to warm signaling the trade winds are weakening. This could lead to a number of different things over the next several months.
If the El-Nino were to come on quick it could play a role in the current hurricane season. Typically in an El-Nino summer, the trade winds are stronger in the Atlantic basin. Tropical organization is less likely when strong wind shear is present.
It is more likely that an El-Nino would develop by fall and into winter. This typically leads to wetter conditions, especially in the winter. More of the bigger, southern storms are generated and move up the east coast in an El-Nino winter. With cold air present, Virginia typically sees its bigger snows when an El-Nino is manifesting in Winter.