Goodbye La Niña, Hello El Niño

By Cassie LaSorsa

After 2 1/2 years, La Niña is saying adios for now. This is potentially good news for the Atlantic coast, which typically sees above-average hurricane activity when La Niña is present in the summer months. In the winter, La Niña can bring wet weather to the Pacific coast, like the atmospheric river events of late 2022 and early 2023. 

As of their June 8 update, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has issued an El Niño Advisory, which means El Niño conditions are observed and expected to continue. As the sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific continue to warm above average, there is a 56% chance of a strong El Niño in the winter months.  

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center is predicting a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season with 12 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes, and one to four major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). El Niño can contribute to a slower-than-average Atlantic hurricane season. This is due to the atmosphere being more stable and having stronger winds aloft, which work against tropical storm formation. In La Niña years, more hurricanes are likely in the Atlantic due to weaker winds aloft and a less stable environment, which are conducive to tropical development.  

Despite the presence of El Niño, other climatological factors contribute to the forecast. This includes conditions favorable for systems to come off the coast of Africa into the Atlantic and potentially become tropical systems. Warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic and Caribbean may also help fuel storm activity. 

A typical winter El Niño pattern in the United States can bring wetter and cooler conditions to the southern part of the United States, from southern California to the Carolinas. In addition, the Pacific Northwest and even parts of Alaska may experience a warmer-than-average winter. Keep in mind these conditions are not a definite; it’s just what is likely to happen based on previous years’ data. Also, it should be noted that not every El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle produces the same amount of extremes because there are other climate patterns involved and varying degrees of El Niño and La Niña strength.  

The CPC issues an ENSO discussion monthly, which tracks the onset and potential strength of the cycle. Likewise, NICB continues tracking catastrophe-related claims and questionable claims relative to the ENSO cycle for further analysis. NICB members are reminded they can access the latest National Catastrophic Event Fraud Threat Assessment in ISO ClaimSearch,® which summarizes the areas most at risk in the United States and what types of fraud to look out for. Law enforcement can access the threat assessment through either the Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP) or Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) website.


NOAA/National Weather Service, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Climate Prediction Center. (2023, June 8). El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion.

NOAA. (2023, May 25). NOAA predicts a near-normal 2023 Atlantic hurricane season.

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422) or submitting a form on our website.

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