By Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) – Government forecasters say El Niño is over and we’re now in a neutral phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, which basically means that global wind patterns in the equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean are back to normal.

But many long-range forecast models indicate that La Niña will develop this summer and it has a 75% chance of strengthening during the upcoming fall and winter.

La Niña is an abnormal cooling of the waters in the equatorial region of the eastern Pacific Ocean and it can sometimes have an impact on global weather patterns.

During La Niña years the jet stream during the fall and winter in the Northern Hemisphere tends to stay further north than usual, often putting Colorado either right on its southern edge or sometimes even out of the main storm track.

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Strong La Niña events can lead to drier-than-normal winters and even the development of drought.

It’s too early to predict what might be in store for Colorado this coming fall and winter, but you can monitor the latest through monthly updates from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

Meteorologist Chris Spears writes about stories related to weather and climate in Colorado. Check out his bio, connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCBS4.

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