A neutral ENSO phase remains across the equatorial Pacific. Sea-surface temperatures are near average throughout much of the central Pacific but continue to show signs of warming across the eastern Pacific — often a major indicator that an El Nino could develop.
The latest climate models are split on whether the neutral phase will transition into an El Nino. The possibility exists during the second half of 2012. Whether an El Nino develops likely will determine what type of fall and winter can be expected across the country.
As for August, two main areas of warmer than average temperatures are predicted. First, parts of the Desert Southwest and Great Basin likely will continue to see above average readings as suggested by a few climate indices. The ongoing drought across parts of the Midwest and Southeast is expected to impact temperatures in these regions. Temperatures are forecast to be warmer than normal by 1 to 3 degrees across portions of the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley and Southeast. As a result, total cooling degree-days for the month will be higher than normal by between 30 and 90 across these areas. The Pacific Northwest, northern Plains and New England will see temperatures closer to normal.