La Nina is here, may last through winter

Rain drops bead on a car window below the Golden Gate Bridge Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Sausalito, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. Stronger systems are predicted starting Tuesday following light rain a day earlier. At least two more storms are expected to follow on Wednesday and Thursday, possibly bringing as much as 3 inches of rain. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Government weather forecasters say La Nina is here.

La Nina, the flip side of El Nino, is the cooling of the central Pacific Ocean that affects weather patterns worldwide.

Mike Halpert of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday he expects La Nina conditions to be weak and short-lived.

In the United States, La Nina conditions usually means wetter winters in the northern Rockies, Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley and warmer, drier conditions in the southern parts, including drought-stricken California.

NOAA says there’s a 55 percent chance La Nina will last through winter.

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