El Nino conditions are quickly developing across the central and eastern equatorial regions of the Pacific Ocean, with meteorologist now indicating a high chance of development by December.
Warmer-than-normal temperatures for most of the country are expected, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center’s official winter weather forecast released Thursday.
Current models show El Nino has a 70 to 75% probability of forming. “We expect El Nino to be in late fall to early winter,” Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Although a weak El Nino is expected, it may still influence the winter season by bringing wetter conditions across the Southern United States, and warmer, drier conditions to parts of the North.”
El Nino is a massive ocean-atmosphere climate event linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific waters.
The swings between warmer and cooler waters in the tropical Pacific are the primary factors for either El Nino (warmer seawater) or La Nina (cooler seawater), which government meteorologist watch closely in determining the North American winter weather forecast.
Here is the 2018 U.S. Winter Outlook report (Dec. through Feb):
Warmer-than-normal conditions are expected across much of the northern and western U.S., with higher probabilities of warmer temperatures in Alaska and from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern Plains, Halpert said in a statement.
The forecast does not show any region in the US below-average temperatures for the season. Much of the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Ohio Valley regions will remain within average ranges.
Halpert said wetter-than-average conditions are favored across the southern tier and Mid-Atlantic, with the highest odds for above-average precipitation in northern Flordia and south Georgia.
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