Published September 14, 2023

El Nino now 95% Certain 

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan

Latest Projections for Winter Ahead 

With each passing day the Climate Prediction Center becomes more and more certain that North Dakota can expect a warmer winter than usual in the months ahead. 

In their latest outlook the CPC says they are 95% certain that a strong El Nino will influence winter weather over much of the United States, North Dakota included. The CPC says, “equatorial sea surface temperatures are above average across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean,” meaning a warmer winter can be expected. 

How much warmer will play out through the winter season, but sea surface temperature increases of 1.5 degrees Centigrade or greater are already indicated and may increase over the next several weeks. 

While winter weather in North Dakota remains capable of producing some very cold, windy conditions no matter what the long-term outlook, continued development of El Nino conditions carries with it the promise of a most pleasant winter season.  

The last major El Nino, which reached 2.6 degrees Centigrade above normal over the Pacific Ocean region responsible for El Nino conditions, was the winter of 2015-26 which set marks throughout the state for one of the warmest winters on record. 

The present El Nino is expected to peak November-January at or greater than 1.5 degrees Centigrade above normal. 

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