WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal climate experts say a weak version of the El Nino climate phenomenon may be forming in the Pacific Ocean.
If the process continues, the United States could experience mild impacts in late winter or early next spring, according to forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center.
El Nino is an abnormal warming of the ocean temperatures across the eastern tropical Pacific that can affect weather around the globe.
The last El Nino, in 1997-8, set off fatal storms, heat waves, fires, floods and drought around the world resulting in an estimated $32 billion in damage.
In North America the result of an El Nino tends to include the movement of abnormally warm air into western Canada, Alaska and the extreme northern portion of the contiguous United States.
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