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Forecasters: Winter ahead *may* be warmer, wetter thanks to El Nino

September 25, 2018

YANKTON - Fall arrived this weekend and forecasters at the National Climate Center are raising the odds of an El Nino weather pattern impacting our region soon.

Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub, says we may see a shift within a few months.

“We get into El Nino conditions maybe by late fall but probably by mid-winter,” Todey says. “The probability is around 65 to 70% chance right now.”

Forecasting models indicate a weak El Nino is most likely, Todey says, but that’s just at the moment.

“This one will probably not be a particularly strong one,” he says, “so, therefore, what we expect out of this, we can’t assume as much out of it this time. Typically, we talk about El Nino winters as higher likelihood of being warmer than average throughout most of the Northern Plains, the northern Midwest. That’s still the thinking.”

Todey says it’s a safer bet the impacts of the weather pattern will be felt more next year than this fall.

“The other thing, when we have El Ninos, we expect a better chance of precipitation as you get into springtime,” Todey says. “The indications for fall aren’t as strong and we’re really not being impacted by El Nino right now, so, we can’t say too much about the fall as being too much different from average right now.”

Forecasts for the last three months of the year show near-normal temperatures and precipitation are likely for the region.

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