El Nino fading, but rain to pound farmers until April

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One of the most powerful El Ninos recorded during the last six decades is starting to loosen its grip, but South Carolina farmers may not see significant relief from relentless rain until April. All the rain has put farmers behind, especially for crops such as wheat and corn.

Forecasters expect the 2015-16 El Nino, an unusual warming of the tropical waters of the equatorial Pacific that results in frequent low-pressure systems and rainy and stormy spells in the Southeast, to fade sometime this spring.

Climatologists say the El Nino could fade into a neutral period or immediately be replaced by a La Nina, in which the surface water in the Pacific becomes cooler than normal. El Nino and La Nina periods typically don’t have much of an effect on summer weather patterns.

Hope Mizzell, the state climatologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, said that neutral or La Nina conditions will likely result in a warmer, drier late fall and winter.

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