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Despite their simple names, these weather systems can cause a whole lot of trouble.
USA TODAY

El Niño is forecast to continue through the summer and possibly into the fall, federal forecasters announced Thursday, which could weaken the Atlantic hurricane season.

El Niño is a periodic natural warming of seawater in the tropical Pacific. It’s among the biggest influences on weather and climate in the United States and around the world.

Specificially, in its monthly forecast released Thursday, the Climate Prediction Center said there’s a 66% chance that El Niño conditions will persist through the summer. Beyond that, however, the forecast calls for a 50-55% percent chance it will last through the fall, including the heart of the Atlantic hurricane season.

If it persists into the fall, that might be good news: “El Niño typically reduces Atlantic hurricane activity due to increased vertical wind shear,” Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach tweeted Thursday morning.

But with only a 50-55% chance of lasting through the fall, a calmer storm season is far from a slam dunk.

On the other side of the Americas, however, warm water from El Niños tend to increase hurricane activity in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Hurricanes there seldom affect land, but they can impact Mexico, the U.S. Southwest and Hawaii.

Other than its impact on hurricanes, its influence on U.S. summer weather tends to be rather weak, according to Bloomberg.

Elsewhere, El Niños also raise the chances Brazil can be warmer than normal and leave India, Indonesia and eastern Australia drier, Bloomberg reported.

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