The Climate Prediction Center has announced that an El Nino weather phenomenon has developed. Such a weather pattern means Atlantic and Gulf coast regions could be more at risk of tropical weather, such as flooding like the kind that affected Palm Beach, Fla., in November. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo
June 8 (UPI) -- The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center says an El Nino weather pattern has officially developed, raising the possibility of a more robust hurricane season for Gulf and Atlantic coast regions.
In May, the World Meteorological Organization predicted a high likelihood of an El Nino weather phenomenon developing in 2023. The National Weather Service now confirms that an ocean climate phenomenon has, indeed, occurred.
"El Nino conditions are present and are expected to gradually strengthen into the Northern Hemisphere winter 2023-24," the Climate Prediction Center said in an update Thursday.
"In May, weak El Nino conditions emerged as above-average sea surface temperatures strengthened across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. All of the latest weekly Nino indices were more than +0.5 degrees Celsius," officials at the center said.
The center predicted the climate pattern would continue through this winter and could even strengthen in the fall.
"At its peak, the chance of a strong El Nino is nearly the same as it was last month (56% chance of November-January Nino)," the center said.
An El Nino phenomenon happens when the surface of the Pacific Ocean warms, causing significant weather changes. A La Nina weather phenomenon occurs when the Pacific cools. Together the phenomena form the El Nino/Southern Oscillation cycle, and it can predict the severity of hurricanes at different times in the cycle and in different oceans.
In March, the WMO declared the three-year La Nina phenomenon was over.
In May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a "near-normal" hurricane season this year, with 12-17 named storms forecast.