The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the already-strong El Niño strengthened in November.
It says atmospheric and oceanic anomalies reflect a strong and mature El Niño episode and most models signal a strong event will continue through the winter and weaken to ENSO-neutral in late spring or early summer.
"The forecaster consensus remains nearly unchanged, with the expectation that this El Niño could rank among the top three strongest episodes as measured by the three-month SST (sea surface temperature) departures in the Niño 3.4 region going back to 1950," says NOAA.
NOAA notes the current El Niño event has produced significant global impacts.
There are already severe droughts in parts of Africa.
The Southern United States is in for a cooler and wetter winter, but Eastern Canada is in for a milder start to winter followed by cold weather in February, but not as cold as last year’s record-breaking temperatures.
The Weather Network says “for most of the eastern half of Canada, the mild start to winter will be offset by the cold conclusion and result in final numbers that are close to “normal” for the winter as a whole.
“This is noticeably warmer than the past two winters across this region, but considerably colder than other strong El Niño winters of the past.”