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El Niño This Year May Be Most Powerful Ever, for Good or Bad

Image: El Niño This Year May Be Most Powerful Ever, for Good or Bad
A frog sits on ground cracked by drought from a previous El Nino. (Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters)

By    |   Friday, 14 Aug 2015 06:54 AM

The El Niño now in the Pacific Ocean could become the most powerful one ever and bring record storms to drought-plagued California this winter. It will affect the rest of the United States, too.

The National Weather Service said computer models are predicting the El Niño system will reach its height during the late fall and early winter as warming ocean waters move toward to the Pacific coast, according to the Los Angeles Times.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an El Niño refers to large-scale ocean-atmosphere climate interaction linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Pacific. The system can affect weather patterns, ocean conditions, and marine fisheries across large portions of the globe for an extended period of time.

Bill Patzert, a climatologist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told the Times that the building El Niño could be stronger than the one that hit California in 1997. That system delivered rain that doubled Southern California's annual average.

That system also dropped twice as much snow in the Sierra Nevada than usual, a major source of precipitation for the state's water supply.

"This definitely has the potential of being the Godzilla El Niño," Patzert told the Times. "Everything now is going the right way for El Niño. If this lives up to its potential, this thing can bring a lot of floods, mudslides and mayhem."

KABC-TV reported the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center believes the El Nino effect could run through early 2016 in the northern hemisphere, with an 86 percent chance that it will last into early spring.

"Across the contiguous United States, temperature and precipitation impacts associated with El Niño are expected to remain minimal during the remainder of the Northern Hemisphere summer and increase into the late fall and winter," said Thursday's report from the center.

"El Niño will likely contribute to a below normal Atlantic hurricane season, and to above-normal hurricane seasons in both the central and eastern Pacific hurricane basins," said the report.

The weather pattern, though, won't be strong enough to erase all the effects of California's current drought that has lasted for several years.

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The El Niño now in the Pacific Ocean could become the most powerful one ever and bring record storms to drought-plagued California this winter. It will affect the rest of the United States, too.
el nino, most, powerful, ever
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Friday, 14 Aug 2015 06:54 AM
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