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El Nino
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Drier, warmer weather expected this winter across Pacific Northwest

You might see more people at the beach this winter. (KIRO Radio, Matt Pitman)

For the first time in three years, weak to moderate El Nino conditions are expected for the fall-winter seasons across the Pacific Northwest, which means warmer and drier than average weather.

NOAA reports that the “sea surface temperatures at the equator were warmer than average in much of the tropical Pacific in August 2018,” which is one of the criteria for El Nino.

Meteorologist Reid Wolcott with the National Weather Service says there will be plenty of variability across the region.

“They really only give us a signal over a very large geographic region, for instance the ‘Pacific Northwest,'” Wolcott said. “So it really doesn’t say too much what Seattle is going to be, or Arlington is going to be, or Monroe is going to be.”

Wolcott said the warm and dry weather is expected to stick around until January when we can expect a bump in precipitation. There’s a greater chance that Eastern Washington will see below normal precipitation levels this fall and winter.

An El Nino doesn’t mean we won’t experience those big rain storms, Wolcott said. If just might mean one fewer than we normally get.

According to NOAA, El Nino — or unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean — was first noticed in the 1600s by fisherman off the coast of South America.

KIRO Radio’s Jillian Raftery contributed to this report.

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