La Nina, blamed for U.S. South drought, may revive this autumn

NEW YORK Thu Jul 7, 2011 11:23am EDT

A mother and her calf idle in dead grassland on the Swenson Ranch outside Stamford, Texas, May 21, 2011. Severe drought and millions of acres of wildfires have delivered a potent one-two punch this year, forcing tough decisions on ranchland across Texas. REUTERS/Elliott Blackburn

A mother and her calf idle in dead grassland on the Swenson Ranch outside Stamford, Texas, May 21, 2011. Severe drought and millions of acres of wildfires have delivered a potent one-two punch this year, forcing tough decisions on ranchland across Texas.

Credit: Reuters/Elliott Blackburn

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The La Nina weather anomaly blamed for one of the worst droughts in the southern United States could revive this autumn, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center forecast on Thursday.

In its monthly report, the CPC said wind circulation consistent with La Nina was persisting in the central Pacific Ocean where the anomaly is usually born.

"Combined with the ... lingering La Nina state of the atmosphere, the possibility of a return to La Nina during the Northern Hemisphere fall (of) 2011 has increased over the past month," the CPC, an office under the U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, stated.

The CPC emphasized though that most computer models indicate current neutral conditions will persist into 2012.

El Nina and La Nina are weather patterns that often follow one another in the Pacific.

The more infamous El Nino is an abnormal warming of waters in the Pacific and the 2009/10 one caused the failure of India's vital monsoon in 2009.

This was followed by the strongest La Nina in a decade from 2010 to 2011, which is widely blamed for the worst drought in a century in Texas and across the southwestern U.S. La Nina is an abnormal cooling of Pacific waters.

Forecasters are predicting that neutral conditions should spur storm formation during the annual Atlantic hurricane season which started June 1. The season ends November 30.

The NOAA is predicting six to 10 hurricanes in 2011, with three to six projected to become major hurricanes.

The oil industry is particularly sensitive about storms roaring into the Gulf of Mexico because they could shut down crude and natural gas production.

La Nina means "little girl" in Spanish. El Nino or "little boy" was named after the Christ child because it was first observed by Latin American anchovy fishermen at Christmastime in the 19th Century.

(Reporting by Rene Pastor; Editing by John Picinich)

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