October 11, 2018 / 1:31 PM / in 12 days

U.S. forecaster sees 70-75 percent chance of El Niño during winter

(Reuters) - There is a 70-75 percent chance of the El Niño weather pattern emerging during the northern hemisphere winter this year, a U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday.

“The official forecast favors the formation of a weak El Niño,” 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 emerging at 50-55 percent during the fall and 65-70 percent during winter 2018-19.

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.

Reporting by Arpan Varghese and Harshith Aranya in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Frances Kerry

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