U.S. weather forecaster sees high chance of La Nina developing

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday maintained its projections for the La Nina weather phenomenon to take place in the Northern Hemisphere later this year, as El Nino conditions dissipated. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), an agency of the National Weather Service, said in its monthly forecast La Nina is favored to develop during the summer and pegged the chance of La Nina developing in the fall and winter 2016-17 at 75 percent. That matched the agency's expectations last month for the likelihood of La Nina. The CPC also said that El Nino conditions, a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, had largely disappeared, citing near-to-below average sea surface temperatures across the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. El Nino has been linked to crop damage, fires and flash floods over the past year. La Nina, which is typically less damaging than El Nino, is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. It tends to occur unpredictably every two to seven years. Severe occurrences have been linked to floods and droughts. (Reporting By Luc Cohen; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)

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