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UPDATE: El Niño still a hot topic

23.11.2018 07:07
By: Frank McGwire

Warm Pacific Ocean water adds to accuracy of forecast

Brandon, MB (CKLQ) - As we near the end of November the chance of an El Niño winter is once again becoming a hot topic.

Early weather system tracking models still show a 70 - 75% chance of an El Niño.

However, David Phillips with Environment Canada explains meteorologists never give a 100% guarantee with long range weather outlooks.

"It's always a crap shoot a little bit in Canada but when you have an El Niño or La Niña situation we can get as accurate as 80 per cent," Phillips said.

Phillips adds weather models they're tracking in the Pacific show a significant area of warm water which may produce a smaller scale El Niño.

"It's what we call neutral right now but it's going to grow throughout the season and probably increase to moderate this winter," said Phillips.

How does this data translate into a long range forecast?

"When people hear milder than normal winter because of El Niño they think every day will be like that but what we're seeing is a pocket of warm Pacific Ocean water which will create a warm air mass that may result in milder portions of winter," Phillips said.

As such, Phillips adds, the overall winter will be less harsh and therefore seem shorter.