The little El Nino that has been warming equatorial Pacific waters off the coast of Peru apparently grew up during the month of October, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which now expects much warmer sea surface temperatures this winter to lead to warmer than normal temperatures in the northern United States.

“Over the United States and Canada we expect: 1) drier-than-average conditions in the Ohio Valley states and northern U.S. Rockies during winter 2002-2003, 2) wetter-than-average conditions along much of the southern tier of the U.S. during winter 2002-2003, and 3) warmer-than-average conditions in the northern tier states, southern and southeastern Alaska, and western and central Canada during late fall 2002 and winter 2002-2003,” NOAA said in its latest report on Thursday.

Weather models now indicate El Nino conditions will continue through spring 2003. “Based on the recent evolution of conditions in the tropical Pacific, we expect SST anomalies to increase further in the eastern equatorial Pacific (Nino 3 and Nino 1+2 regions), with the establishment of basin-wide mature El Nino conditions during December 2002-February 2003,” NOAA said. “However, based on the latest predictions and an assessment of current oceanic and atmospheric conditions, we expect that this event will be weaker than the 1997-98 El Nino.”

Additional information is available on NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center web page at

©Copyright 2002 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.