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U.S. forecaster sees La Nina likely in coming months

New York | Reuters — A U.S. government forecaster on Thursday said the chance has increased for weather phenomenon La Nina developing in the coming months in the Northern Hemisphere fall and persist into winter 2016-17.

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), an agency of the National Weather Service, in a monthly forecast pegged the chance of La Nina developing this fall at 70 per cent, versus a likelihood of neutral conditions forecast last month.

The conditions are slightly favoured to persist into the winter, CPC said, pegging the chances at 55 per cent. The emergence of La Nina would follow a strong El Nino that has dissipated in recent months after wreaking havoc on global crops.

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.

Environment Canada has previously said La Nina, during the winter, is often linked to above-average precipitation in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec and colder-than-normal temperatures on the Prairies.

Reporting for Reuters by Chris Prentice. Includes files from Network staff.

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