The current El Nino has become a strong one, according to NOAA's September El Nino diagnostic discussion released Thursday.

Weekly sea-surface temperature departures from average topped 2 degrees Celsius from mid-August into early September in the defining strip of the equatorial Pacific Ocean monitored for El Nino, the Nino 3.4 region. El Nino events are considered strong when temperature anomalies top 2 degrees Celsius.


NOAA's September report cited broad forecaster and model consensus this El Nino will persist through winter 2015-2016, before weakening, as most typically do, in spring 2016.

El Niño's clearest impact on northern hemisphere weather patterns occurs from late fall through winter.

Looking at past moderate-strong El Ninos, here is how the weather could shape up this winter in the U.S.

- Wetter: Southern U.S. from California to the Carolinas then up parts of the East Coast

Drier: Parts of the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, Northwest and Northern Rockies

Cooler: Desert Southwest, Southern Plains, northern Gulf Coast

Warmer: Northern tier of states from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern Plains, Great Lakes, and Northeast

Note these are impacts that are typically expected, but they aren't always the rule.


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