La Nina to develop, expected to strengthen in 3 months

The La Nina weather anomaly is gathering steam and will possibly strengthen in the next three months, the US Climate Prediction Center predicted Thursday. In its monthly update, the center said conditions in the equatorial Pacific already reflected La Nina, in which waters in the area become cooler than normal.

In the more famous El Nino phenomenon, waters in the Pacific turn abnormally warm and cause havoc around the Asia Pacific rim. “Current atmospheric conditions and observed oceanic trends indicate that La Nina conditions will further develop and possibly strengthen during the next three months,” according to the CPC, which operates under the US National Weather Service.

“During this period, potential impacts over the contiguous United States include wetter-than-normal conditions over the Pacific Northwest and drier-than-normal conditions over the southwestern states,” it said. The emergence of La Nina, which means “little girl” in Spanish, is said to favor the formation of hurricanes in the Atlantic basin by suppressing the wind shear that tears apart embryonic storms.

But this La Nina is coming late in the Atlantic hurricane season and forecasters were unsure if it would spur a late burst of storms.

El Nino has the opposite effect by encouraging stronger wind shear in the Atlantic. An El Nino in 2006 hindered storm formation when only 10 occurred, sharply lower than the record 28 in 2005 which included monsters like hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

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