US forecaster sees 90% chance of El Niño in the northern winter

The last El Nino occurred from around 2015 to 2016 and caused weather-related crop damage, fires and flash floods.
The last El Nino occurred from around 2015 to 2016 and caused weather-related crop damage, fires and flash floods.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - There is a 90 per cent chance of the El Niño weather pattern emerging during the northern hemisphere winter 2018-19, a US government weather forecaster said on Thursday (Dec 13).

"The official forecast favours the formation of a weak El Niño," the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said in a monthly forecast.

The expectation of the weather pattern continuing through spring next year stood at 60 per cent, the CPC added.

Last month, the weather forecaster pegged the chances of the El Niño emerging at 80 per cent during the winter 2018-19 and 55-60 per cent during the spring next year.

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.