By Charles E. Roop
Sept. 4, 2014
There is a 60 to 65 percent chance of El Niño to develop this winter according to the Climate Prediction Center, an agency under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The CPC is keeping the El Niño Watch status in effect, which means conditions are favorable for El Niño development within the next six months.
El Niño is a phenomenon when the water temperatures become warmer than normal off of the Pacific coast of South America near the equator. This fluctuation in sea surface temperatures can have global impacts, leaving some areas in drought while others are in a deluge.
For the southeastern U.S., El Niño can bring wetter and cooler conditions during the winter. El Niño can also inhibit tropical cyclone development in the Atlantic basin because of increased wind shear.
The chance of development is a slight decrease from the 65 percent chance given in the CPC's previous update. The development of El Niño slowed down recently as sea surface temperatures briefly decreased; however, with SSTs rebounding, forecasters are confident of a slightly late development of a weak El Niño.