U.S. winter weather to see El Nino’s influence

Tampa | Reuters — Much of the U.S. South can expect a cooler and wetter winter, while warmer-than-usual temperatures are likely across many northern and western states, as a strong El Nino weather pattern shaped a government weather outlook issued Thursday.

More rain and snow are likely across the nation’s southern regions, extending from central California to Texas and Florida and up the East Coast to southern New England, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Its outlook did not forecast the intensity or frequency of storms.

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While potentially good news for drought-stricken California, a single winter is unlikely to erase the state’s four dry years, the outlook noted.

“California would need close to twice its normal rainfall to get out of drought and that’s unlikely,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, in a statement.

The 2015-16 winter may be colder than usual from Georgia through New Mexico, while northern-tier states and the West Coast will see warmer than normal temperatures, the report noted.

The outlook reflects the influence of one of the strongest El Nino weather patterns on record, forecasters said.

El Nino is a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific that occurs every few years, with global weather implications. In Western and central Canada, an El Nino event is most often associated with above-normal temperatures and drier conditions during winter.

Reporting for Reuters by Letitia Stein.

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