El Nino still expected

Outlook calls for moderate winter

Submitted Photo This U.S. temperature outlook for the coming winter issued by the Climate Prediction Center shows a high probability of a warmer than normal winter for North Dakota and much of the U.S.

It is taking its own sweet time but better late then never.

The Climate Prediction Center issued an updated El Nino status Thursday and, as has the been case for the past few months, still anticipates official El Nino formation this winter. The CPC rates the chances at 80 percent.

Although above-average sea surface temperatures were maintained through October across the equatorial Pacific Ocean, a situation considered neutral by the CPC, the forecast center remains confident that a weak El Nino will still form in the coming weeks. El Nino generally results in more pleasant winter conditions than the long-term average for North Dakota, both in temperature and snowfall.

The slow forming El Nino this year is considered to be minimal, yet should result in buffering any wicked weather than is often associated with North Dakota winter. That is not to say the Minot area will avoid all storms and cold spells in the coming months, but rather that the worst of what winter has to offer should be kept to a minimum.

The CPC’s winter outlook calls for warmer than normal conditions across much of the northern and western United States, including North Dakota. Drier than average conditions are considered “most likely” for the Northern Plains.