Outlook rates El Nino chances at 80% this winter

MINOT, N.D. — In an updated status Thursday, Nov. 8, the Climate Prediction Center rates the chances of official El Nino formation at 80 percent this winter.

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.

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.