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Good News, America: El Nino Might Be Coming

Warm-ocean pattern could bring drought relief
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2014 10:27 AM CST
Good News, America: El Nino Might Be Coming
In this Wednesday, March 25, 1998 file photo, Enrique Lagunas digs a trench to redirect water toward a street in Laguna Beach, Calif. after heavy rains from an El Nino storm hit Southern California.   (AP Photo/Orange County Register, Bruce Chambers)

(Newser) – The National Oceanic Atmospheric and Administration issued an official El Nino watch yesterday—and Americans should probably hope it shows up. The warm weather pattern's approval ratings are probably in the Vladimir Putin range among most in the US, but this time it promises to bring rain to break droughts in California and the South come next winter, a milder winter for the freezing northeast next year, and a softened hurricane season besides, the AP reports.

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Of course, it's not all good news; other parts of the world could experience extra heat, and with it crop losses. "Some areas benefit. Some don't," one scientist says. Right now there's only a 50% chance of any of this happening, the Weather Channel points out. "A watch simply means that conditions across the tropical Pacific are favorable," a Climate Prediction Center official explains, and early-year predictions are less reliable than ones closer to summer. The AP notes meteorologists say an El Nino started to brew in 2012 and then shut down suddenly and unexpectedly. Right now, the model is only predicting a weak event. (Read more El Nino stories.)

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