La Nina Brewing, Hurricane Chances Increase

March 1, 2007

Reported by: Associated Press

Forecasters say that a La Nina weather pattern - the nasty flip side of El Nino - is brewing.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced the end of a brief and mild El Nino that started last year.

That system was credited with partly shutting down last summer's Atlantic hurricane activity.

Forecasters don't know how strong this La Nina will be. But it typically means more hurricanes in the Atlantic, less rain and more heat for the already drought-stricken South, and a milder spring and summer in the north.

Of special concern is West Texas, which is already in a long-term drought.

La Ninas tend to develop from March to June and reach peak intensity at the end of the year and into the next February.

The last lengthy La Nina, from 1998 to 2001, contributed to a serious drought in much of the West.