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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday that La Niña conditions had disappeared and projected the possibility of El Niño developing later this year, returning after the weather phenomenon wreaked havoc on global crops last year.
The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center said in a monthly forecast that neutral conditions were present in February and were likely to continue through at least the spring.
However, the forecaster said it saw increasing chances of El Niño developing later this year and cited some possibility that it could arrive as soon as this spring.
The last El Niño, a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific that typically occurs every few years, faded in 2016 and was linked to crop damage, fires and flash floods.
Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn