As La Niña Fades, Return of El Niño a Possibility

February 13, 2017

A U.S. weather forecaster on Thursday said La Niña has faded and neutral conditions are likely to continue in the coming months, though it noted some chance that the El Niño phenomenon may reappear as early as the Northern Hemisphere spring.

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), an agency of the National Weather Service, in a monthly forecast said that neutral conditions have returned and are favored to continue through at least the Northern Hemisphere spring.

La Niña emerged last year for the first time since 2012. The phenomenon, characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, are linked with floods and droughts.

Even though neutral conditions are most likely, there is a chance of the appearance of El Niño as early as March to May 2017, the forecaster warned. That would be less than a year after the last El Niño faded, having brought serious crop damage, forest fires and flash floods.

(Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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