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'Godzilla El Niño' Could Be A Godsend For Chicago This Winter

By Emma G. Gallegos in News on Aug 14, 2015 8:52PM

Hopefully this won't return (Photo by Steve McKenzie via the Chicagoist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)

The last thing you want to think about in August is winter or—shudderthe dreaded (and possibly nonexistent) Polar Vortex, but we have some good news: This year's winter is forecast to be mild thanks to a 'Godzilla El Niño.'

Weather experts say that the El Niño brewing in the Pacific Ocean is gathering strength and it looks like one of the most powerful on record. A strong El Niño could mean above-average temperatures and below-normal precipitation from December through February, according to the Chicago Tribune. The last time we had an El Niño this strong in 1997 through '98 was the seventh-warmest winters for Chicago, according to the National Weather Service.

Some people are calling it a Godzilla El Niño, some "El Niño Bruce Lee."

El Niño starts in the Pacific Ocean just west of Peru, but it affects the weather globally. For our friends in drought-stricken California, it means, thankfully, they're likely to see a whole lot of rain. For the Midwest and Plains, it means that we'll probably see more warm air.

But that's not 100 percent assured. A warm patch in the Pacific further north was causing some of the nasty cold the last two winters, and it could return again this year. And those winds across the Pacific might not carry quite as much warm weather as we'd like.

"It's just a prediction," Ricky Castro, a meteorologist for the weather service, told the Tribune. "But the idea we'll have a less harsh winter is probably not going out on a limb."