Federal experts: This El Nino may be historically strong

FILE - This NOAA satellite image taken in 2014 shows a powerful storm over the Pacific Ocean, giving some much needed rain to Southern California and other parts of the west. (FILE PHOTO: Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal meteorologists say the current El Nino is already the second strongest on record for this time of year and could be one of the most potent weather changers of the past 65 years.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration recorded unusual warmth in the Pacific Ocean in the last three months. El Nino is a heating of the equatorial Pacific that changes weather worldwide, mostly affecting the United States in winter.

NOAA’s Mike Halpert said Thursday the current El Nino likely will rival past super El Ninos in 1997-1998, 1982-83 and 1972-73.

El Nino usually brings heavy winter rain in California, and much of the southern and eastern U.S. Halpert said that’s no guarantee and even past super El Ninos haven’t delivered the rain that California now needs.

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