SPRING 2016 — Imagine this. Something occurring in the middle of the Pacific Ocean can affect your festival.

And that something is El Niño with its warm ocean waters and surface level winds. According to a National Weather Service blog, this phenomenon has occurred over the last six months. It was to have been one of the three strongest El Niños in the last 66-year period.

If these conditions existed at your location since fall, they may be indicative that ENSO*-neutral will soon follow you into summer and that La Niña will arrive this fall:

  • Wetter: Southern U.S. from California to the Carolinas then up parts of the East Coast
  • Drier: Parts of the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, Northwest and Northern Rockies
  • Cooler: Desert Southwest, Southern Plains and northern Gulf Coast
  • Warmer: Northern tier of states from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern Plains, Great Lakes, and Northeast

Is your festival slated to occur between now and the end of May?

As a result of El Niño, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicating the following conditions through May:

  • Above-median precipitation across the southern tier of the United States
  • Below-median precipitation over the Midwest and part of Pacific Northwest
  • Above-average temperatures across the North and West
  • Below-average temperatures favored in the south-central region


So how can El Niño affect your festival?

Has all this rain caused erosion at your event site? Are repairs needed? Did the mild winter not zap insects like it normally does during ice cold winters? Have plants, shrubbery and trees grown and now need a good trimming? Is the grass thicker but with more weeds? Do you have low spots at your venue where water sits, creating a breeding ground for mosquitos? Did the roof leak? Has it been so dry your landscape is in dire need of water? Does the lawn crunch when you walk on it?

Are your guests tired of sitting inside because of extreme weather conditions and looking for an excuse to get outside? Will the heat keep attendance down or drive beer sales? Should you promote your event as “rain or shine” and try to sell as many tickets in advance as possible?

Yes, the weather impacts lives and festivals in many ways. Begin now by putting together a contingency so your event can be ready and up for most challenges.

*Climate.gov describe ENSO  (El Nino-Southern Oscillation) as its ability change the global atmospheric circulation, which in turn, influences temperature and precipitation across the globe.

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