The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have revised their forecast for the El Niño event that is currently underway, saying that the likelihood of it persisting through the winter is not only high, but that this event may rival the record-breaking El Niño seen in 1997. They place a 90% chance of the event lasting into winter, and an 85% chance of it lasting through into next spring.
According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, the 1997/1998 "super" El Niño has held the record for the event with the highest temperature, at 2.3°C above normal. The average surface temperature for the period from May through July has been 1.0°C, and has continued to climb since March. As well, a comparison of the topography of the two events bear a striking similarity to one another. The CPC is predicting that surface temperatures could reach as high as 2.2°C above normal by the time readings for the November-January period are compiled, and possibly higher.
"We’re predicting that this El Niño could be among the strongest El Niños on record, dating back to 1950," reported CPC Deputy Director Mike Halpert. The only thing that might reduce its effect is if trade winds should remain strong. Normally, they lessen in October-November, which allows the el Nino system to move northward. Even if that does not happen, its effects will be felt across Mexico and into the US Southwest, where rainfall is expected to be significantly above normal. If the trade wind pattern repeats as it does most years, the US West Coast will also feel the effects of the system.
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