WINTER WEATHER UPDATE: Messy conditions to impact Thanksgiving travel

El Niño Watch continues

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The Watch for El Niño continues, according to today’s update from the Climate Prediction Center.  Climate scientists say there is a 70% chance of El Niño forming during the summer and climbs to 80% during the fall and winter.

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Climate scientists continue to closely monitor changing temperature, wind and water patterns in the Equatorial Pacific, a region of our mostly water-covered planet that can significantly impact global weather patterns.  Scientists continue to see a warming trend in this region, with above-average sea surface temperatures in May 2014.

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You can see the warming trend in the various El Niño “regions” in the plot below.  For us to technically reach El Niño, the Niño 3.4 region of the Pacific has to have a full month of +0.5C or greater (with the expectation that it will continue for three months), and the atmospheric patterns must be in sync with an El Niño. In other words, we’re seeing the signs, but not all of the requirements have been met for long enough, yet.

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Forecasters issued the following update:

“Over the last month, the chance of El Niño and its ultimate strength weakened slightly in the models. Regardless, the forecasters remain just as confident that El Niño is likely to emerge. If El Niño forms, the forecasters and most dynamical models…slightly favor a moderate-strength event during the Northern Hemisphere fall or winter.”

Here’s a look at the simulations, which are almost all in agreement with El Niño developing through the rest of this year.

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Meteorologist Carrie Rose

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