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Still on Track for the Strongest El Niño Ever?

2015 NINO

The new 2015 El Niño update is out from NOAA and as earlier predicted, it’s one of the strongest ever. So far the third strongest El Niño on record is strengthening in the Pacific.

Mike Halpert, Deputy Director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center gives us their latest thinking…

“This months update states that El Niño is now strong with a 95% chance it will last through the winter before gradually weakening during spring.”

As for the impacts for the United States, he says…

“For the upcoming winter the seasonal outlooks currently favor above normal precipitation across the southern part of the US from central California to Florida and along the East Coast to southern New England.”

And for conditions that could affect the amount of snow vs. rain this winter, we get their predictions…

“For temperatures we favor above average temperatures in Alaska, Hawaii and along the Northern Tier from the Pacific Northwest to the Great Lakes, with below average temperatures most likely in the Southwest and in the Southeast.”

Mike adds a word of caution for this forecast’s outcomes though…

“Just because something is favored, doesn’t mean it will happen.”

One of the biggest concerns this year has been the drought out west and even with above average precipitation this winter, Kevin Werner, Director of NOAA’s Western Region Client Services emphasized…

“To make up the precipitation deficit it would take about 2 1/2 to 3 times the average annual precipitation for next year to balance deficit.”

With that said, Mike stated that El Niño can be very good for the country…

“The increased GDP can be in the billions of dollars by just saving on your heating bill if you live in North Dakota.”

And finally, when asked about this year’s El Niño being called a monster, the Godzilla El Niño, Mike smiled saying…

“Let’s see, Godzilla destroys cities, so you know that’s not helpful for the message.”

For WeatherNation: John Van Pelt

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