Cattle gather on a strip of dry land in low-lying areas of the Bolivian Amazon, after heavy rains from the El Nino weather phenomenon on Feb 22, 2007 in Beni, Bolivia. The rains affected 350,000 people, destroyed valuable agriculture and killed 23,000 cattle.
Cattle gather on a strip of dry land in low-lying areas of the Bolivian Amazon, after heavy rains from the El Nino weather phenomenon on Feb 22, 2007 in Beni, Bolivia. The rains affected 350,000 people, destroyed valuable agriculture and killed 23,000 cattle.  Martin Alipaz—EPA/Corbis

El Niño Likely To Hit This Summer

Jul 10, 2014

The El Niño weather system is likely to begin by August, the top U.S. weather agency affirmed on Thursday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there's a 70 percent chance of an El Niño onset in the Northern Hemisphere this summer, and an 80 percent chance that it will occur by winter. The agency says the weather system is expected to peak at weak to moderate levels around late fall.

The latest report affirms earlier predictions of El Niño occurring this year. The system could lead to overall warmer temperatures across the globe next year, while also causing droughts in Australia and an heavy rainfall in South America and parts of East Asia. El Niño has also been associated with an uptick in hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific.

But as TIME’s Bryan Walsh reported last month, El Niño could be good news for the hurricane-prone East Coast. Walsh explains:

El Niños occur when the waters of the equatorial Pacific undergo unusual warming, which in turn affects atmospheric circulation and weather around the world. That includes hurricanes in the Atlantic: El Niño increases the strength of westerly winds across the Atlantic, which creates a lot of wind shear. (Wind shear is the difference between speed and direction of wind over a short distance.) That high wind shear can disrupt tropical storm systems before they’re able to gather a lot of power, which makes it difficult for major hurricanes to form.

Thailand Floods 2011
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The water rising in Pathum Thani, Thialand while people try to adapt to a new day-to-day routine without basic facilities on Oct. 29, 2011.Roland Neveu—LightRocket/Getty Images
Thailand Floods 2011
Fruto Garcia walks on the ground cracked by drought in the Las Canoas Lake, Nicaragua on April 8, 2010. The lack of rain caused by the El Nino meteorological phenomena decreased water level in Las Canoas Lake, located in the center of Nicaragua, affecting approximately eight thousand people who live in the surrounding areas.
A fisherman makes maintenance works on h
Cattle gather on a strip of dry land in low-lying areas of the Bolivian Amazon, after heavy rains from the El Nino weather phenomenon on Feb 22, 2007 in Beni, Bolivia. The rains affected 350,000 people, destroyed valuable agriculture and killed 23,000 cattle.
A luxury home in Laguna Niguel Calif. slips down a hillside eroded on March 19, 1998 by heavy El Nino generated rains. Two homes and seven condominiums have been destroyed in the slide and several more were threatened with destruction.
A resident grieves while sitting by the ruins of her neighbor' house s on March 3, 1999 after it collapsed killing one person during a landslide triggered by recent torrential rains. Some 28 people have died in Sao Paulo since the beginning of 1999 as a direct consequence of the disastrous weather caused by the weather phenomenon known as "La Nina."
Australia Suffers Worst Drought In Years
APTOPIX Colombia Floods
Aerial view of a flooded area in Trinida
Car Buried by Mud
Ecuadorean Farmer Wenseslao Plaza, rests on his living room furniture in flood waters in Milagro Mar..
Wildfire rips through a forest surrounding the village of Ixtacamaxtitlan in the Northern Sierra of ..
A worker carries a sack of rice inside the National Food Authority Warehouse in Quezon City, the Philippines on Aug. 16, 2010. Farm production in the country went down 2.59 percent in the first half due to the El Nino phenomenon,
Man Sitting on Washed Out Road
Flooded Nepena River
The water rising in Pathum Thani, Thialand while people try to adapt to a new day-to-day routine without basic facilitie
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Roland Neveu—LightRocket/Getty Images
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