U.S. forecaster sees 60 percent chance of El Niño emerging in fall

(Reuters) - The El Niño weather pattern has a 60 percent chance of emerging during the northern hemisphere fall of 2018, with the chances increasing to 70 percent during the subsequent winter, a U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday.

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.

“Because of the consistency of forecasts and the expected eventual resurgence in the low-level westerly wind anomalies, the forecasters still favor the onset of El Niño in the coming months,” the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said in a monthly forecast.

Last month, the weather forecaster pegged the chances of the El Niño emergence at 65 percent during the fall and 70 percent during winter 2018-19.

Reporting by Karen Rodrigues in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Susan Thomas