U.S. forecaster sees 80 percent chance of El Niño during winter


FILE PHOTO: Downtown Los Angeles skyline is seen in front of the snow covered San Gabriel Mountains following a series of El Nino driven storms in Los Angeles, California, California January 7, 2016. REUTERS/Bob Riha Jr.

(Reuters) – There is an 80 percent chance of the El Niño weather pattern to form and continue through the northern hemisphere in winter 2018/19, a U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday.

Last month, the weather forecaster pegged the chances of the El Niño emergence at 70-75 percent for the winter.

For spring next year, there is a 55-60 percent chance of El Niño forming, the forecaster said.

“The official forecast favors the formation of a weak El Niño, with the expectation that the atmospheric circulation will eventually couple to the anomalous equatorial Pacific warmth,” the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said in a monthly forecast.

The last El Niño, a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific that typically occurs every few years, occurred from around 2015 to 2016 and caused weather-related crop damage, fires and flash floods.

Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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