NOAA expects biggest impact in next few months

Posted at 10:27 PM, Jan 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-04 00:27:20-05

The current El Nino weather patterns show no signs of stopping in 2016. 

In fact, NOAA and NASA scientists predict the biggest impacts are still to be seen. The signature warming waters in the eastern Pacific change weather patterns across the world. Experts say the trends may strengthen in the early months of the New Year. 

"This is one of the strongest that we've seen," said Jason Meyers, a Storm Shield App Meteorologist. "It's easily in the top three. We'll see if it turns out to be the strongest."

Meyers says the northern half of the country will likely see warm, dry conditions than average, while the south will see cooler, wetter conditions in the next few months. 

It could be good news for California, a state hit hard by drought and wildfires. 

"Everybody's got their fingers crossed for this," said Meyers. "This drought in California has been going on for years. Usually during El Nino winters, we see more rain than average, and for California, that's when they get all their rain, during those winter months."

NOAA says the current El Nino bears a striking resemblance to another record-breaking El Nino in the winter of 1997-98, famous for causing the "Great Ice Storm" in New England and southeastern Canada. 

El Nino typically peaks in the late winter months. They happen every two to seven years.