The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center announced Thursday that the ocean-atmospheric phenomenon, which is marked by warming sea temperatures over the central and east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean, is underway. But while past appearances of El Niño sometimes has had potent effects, this one is so weak that “widespread or significant global weather pattern impacts are not anticipated,” NOAA forecasters said in a press release.
But that’s not to say that it won’t have any effect. It’s possible that we may see wetter-than-normal conditions along the U.S. Gulf Coast this spring as a result, NOAA says. Forecasters think there’s a 50 to 60 percent chance that El Niño will continue into the summer.