UNDATED (WJON News) -- After three winters in a La Nina weather pattern, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center has announced an El Nino climate pattern has officially formed.

El Nino is the warming of surface water in the Pacific Ocean while a La Nina climate pattern means cooler water surface temperatures.

Assistant State Climatologist Pete Boulay at the University of Minnesota says typically an El Nino is not really noticeable in the summer months, but if it sticks around we could see a more mild winter...

For years with El Nino in the winter, most of the time it will be tilting warmer than normal and probably a little bit less snow. You know, the biggest guidance for a warm winter is basically an El Nino. Right now, if you look at the Climate Prediction Center outlook for the winter, it's for a tendency of above-normal temperatures and that's classic El Nino.

Boulay says an El Nino weather pattern typically keeps the polar jet stream north of us which means warmer than average temperatures for Minnesota.

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As far as snow, Boulay says typically an El Nino means less snow for us here in Minnesota and much of the upper midwest.

There is no guarantee that El Nino will last into the winter, but if it does, the Climate Prediction Center indicates it could be moderate to strong.

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