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U.S. forecaster sees 90 percent chance of El Niño in winter

(Reuters) – There is a 90 percent chance of the El Niño weather pattern emerging during the northern hemisphere winter 2018-19, a U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday.

“The official forecast favors the formation of a weak El Niño,” the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said in a monthly forecast.

The expectation of the weather pattern continuing through spring next year stood at 60 percent, the CPC added.

Last month, the weather forecaster pegged the chances of the El Niño emerging at 80 percent during the winter 2018-19 and 55-60 percent during the spring next year.

The last El Niño, a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific that typically occurs every few years, occurred from around 2015 to 2016 and caused weather-related crop damage, fires and flash floods.

Reporting by Harshith Aranya in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio

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