US Forecaster sees El Nino Likely into N. Hemisphere Spring
A U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday warned that much-watched El Nino conditions are likely to last another nine months, potentially roiling global crops and commodities prices.
The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center projected a more than 90 percent chance that El Nino would continue through this winter and an 80 percent likelihood it would last into the Northern Hemisphere's early spring.
Global forecasters have been heightening calls for a stronger and longer El Nino.
Last month, the CPC extended its forecast, saying El Nino was likely to last through the winter.
Across the contiguous United States, the effects of El Nino are likely to remain minimal through the summer and increase into the late fall and winter, the CPC said on Thursday.
El Nino, the warming of Pacific sea-surface temperatures, can have devastating consequences for agriculture, triggering heavy rains and floods in South America and scorching weather in Asia and as far away as east Africa.
The weather pattern increases precipitation in key U.S. agricultural regions and reduces the likelihood of a busy hurricane season from June to November that can disrupt energy operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
(Reporting by Chris Prentice)