The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the strong El Niño event lingers, with well-above-average sea surface temperatures recorded across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. But it notes that all niño indices decreased slightly from the previous month due to an upwelling equatorial oceanic Kelvin wave. NOAA says most models indicate the strong El Niño will weaken with a transition to ENSO-neutral during the late spring or early summer.
According to the consensus forecast image below, NOAA forecasters give very light odds of La Niña developing this summer, although chances increase into the fall to 40% during the August through October period.
"El Niño has already produced significant global impacts and is expected to affect temperature and precipitation patterns across the United States during the upcoming months," states NOAA. "The seasonal outlooks for January - March indicate an increased likelihood of above-median precipitation across the southern tier of the United States, and below-median precipitation over the northern tier of the United States. Above-average temperatures are favored in the West and northern half of the country with below-average temperatures favored in the southern Plains and along the Gulf Coast."
The National Weather Service will issue its February through April forecast on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 7:30 a.m. CT."