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La Niña Climate Event Returning, Forecasters Say

The La Niña climate phenomenon has returned and that could be bad news for the drought-ravaged south central states.

La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the central equatorial Pacific. The colder than normal water is depicted in this image in blue. During a La Niña stronger than normal trade winds bring cold water up to the surface of the ocean.
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Above: La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the central equatorial Pacific. The colder than normal water is depicted in this image in blue. During a La Niña stronger than normal trade winds bring cold water up to the surface of the ocean.

The periodic cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean can affect weather worldwide and often results in drier-than-usual conditions across the southern tier of the United States and wetter than normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley.

Mike Halpert, deputy director of the federal Climate Prediction Center, says "this means drought is likely to continue in the drought-stricken states of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico."

The forecasters said La Niña, contributed to extreme weather around the globe during the first half of this year and then faded, but has now re-emerged and is expected to gradually strengthen and continue into winter.

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