El Niño induced drought in Swaziland, November 2016: The Great Usuthu River, Swaziland's largest natural stream.
Photo: ©FAO/Believe Nyakudjara


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There is a high probability that an El Niño will strike in the winter of 2018/19. While it is expected to be somewhat weaker this time, it nevertheless represents a threat – especially to those regions that have only just begun to recover from the previous climate shocks, such as Central America and Southern Africa.

It is likely that El Niño will take place in the winter of 2018/19. Experts reckon that if an El Niño does develop, it will be a weak one. The probability of El Niño forming and continuing through the Northern Hemisphere winter of 2018/19 is at 80 per cent, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Japan Meteorological Agency in stated in November 2018.
El Niño, even if it is a weak one, could worsen the already critical food situation in Central America, where communities are still recovering from the harmful effects of the last El Niño 2015/16 (Rural 21 reported: www.rural21.com/english/news/detail/article/critical-food-situation-in-central-america-00002951/). The last El Niño exacerbated the worst drought in decades in Central America's dry corridor.

But the most recent El Niño, which occurred in 2015/16 and was one of the strongest El Niño events of the last 50 years, did not only have a devastating impact in Central America.

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