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What does El Niño mean for the coming winter?

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Berry Greg, of Leominster, Mass., front, shovels snow off the front steps of his home while his wife Myrianna Jean Pierre, behind left, looks on, Tuesday, March 14, 2023, in Leominster.

El Niño, a weather phenomenon associated with warmer temperatures in the northern U.S. and wetter weather in the South, has arrived. But that doesn’t mean people in New England and other northern states should keep their snow shovels in storage, says Auroop Ganguly, co-director of Northeastern’s Global Resilience Institute.

Temperature rise based on El Niño is an average that allows for fluctuations that could become more intense due to climate change, he says. “In places like Boston or the Northeast in general, just because temperatures will be warmer in general doesn’t mean we will not have one or two fairly intense snowstorms,” Ganguly says.

“You should always be prepared.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the weather phenomenon—which means “little boy” in Spanish—got its name from South American fishermen who first noticed periods of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean in the 1600s. 

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