A U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday said that the El Niño weather phenomenon under way would likely peak during the winter and taper off to neutral in late spring or early summer 2016.
The Climate Prediction Center, an agency of the National Weather Service, said the current El Niño conditions, which cause havoc with weather patterns, could rank among the three strongest since 1950.
The prediction center broadly maintained its outlook for strong El Niño conditions likely persisting through the winter.
El Niño, which the predicition center noted has already caused “significant” impacts this year, is a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific that occurs every few years, triggering heavy rains and floods in South America and scorching weather in Asia and as far away as east Africa.
The phenomenon is expected to bring below-average temperature and greater precipitation across the Southern California and above-average temperatures and below-median precipitation in the northern tier of the country in the upcoming months, the prediction center said.
A strong El Nino last appeared in 2009
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