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The U.S. weather forecaster has given its strongest forecast yet that an El Nino weather phenomenon will strike during the Northern Hemisphere summer, pegging the likelihood at 70 percent in its monthly outlook on Thursday.
The Climate Prediction Center, an agency of the National Weather Service, said there is also a 80 percent chance of the weather pattern, which can wreak havoc on global crops, during the fall and winter.
If El Nino, an increase in sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, does form, U.S. forecasters slightly favor a moderate-strength event during the fall or winter, it said.
The new forecast, up from 65 percent last month, is in line with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's latest outlook.