A strong El Nino, characterized by warm water in the central and east-central Pacific Ocean, is expected to start in the fall.  National Weather Service Meteorologist Wes Browning says NOAA forecasters have updated the El Nino forecast, saying the weather pattern is strengthening.

Photo courtesy of the National Weather Service

Photo courtesy of the National Weather Service

“Normally a strong El Nino will last through the winter and on into the early spring before it starts to diminish,” says Browning.

He says that means the Midwest is expected to have warmer than normal temperatures this winter.

“For the Midwest, the affects usually aren’t that dramatic,” says Browning. “Normally, when we get a strong El Nino, the odds are that we will get fewer very intense arctic outbreaks. Now as far as precipitation, it doesn’t have much affect at all.”

Browning says he expects drier than normal conditions in the north near the Canadian border and very hazardous weather from southern California to the gulf coast. He says a strong El Nino in southern California can produce very heavy rain in a very short amount of time, possibly leading to flooding and mudslides.

NOAA forecasters update the El Nino weather pattern on the second Thursday of each month.