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(Reuters) — A U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday it sees a near 50% chance La Nina could develop by the Northern Hemisphere fall on the heels of the El Nino conditions likely to dissipate in the coming months.
The Climate Prediction Center, an agency of the U.S. National Weather Service, in its monthly forecast maintained its projections that current El Nino conditions, which have been linked to crop damage around the world, will likely dissipate by late Northern Hemisphere spring or early summer.
“All models indicate that El Nino will weaken ... (and) the chance of La Nina conditions increases into the fall,” the CPC said in its report.
Last month, CPC said it saw a chance of La Nina developing later this year, emerging for the first time since 2012.
Typically less damaging than El Nino, La Nina is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and tends to occur unpredictably every two to seven years. Severe occurrences have been linked to floods and droughts.
The strong El Nino still underway has had a significant impact globally and is expected to affect temperature and precipitation patterns across the United States in the upcoming months, the CPC said.
The ongoing El Nino, a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, has been linked to serious crop damage, forest fires and flash floods.
Colombia's national planning department has said that forest fires in the nation caused by El Nino have caused economic losses worth 476 billion Colombian pesos ($140 million) in 2015, reported El Colombiano.