NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. national weather forecaster reiterated on Thursday its forecast that the much-feared El Niño phenomenon is unlikely to affect the Northern Hemisphere weather into the summer months.
In its monthly report, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said its models for the El Niño remain neutral into the summer, citing oceanic heat content and wind levels during March.
However, the forecaster maintained a more uncertain longer-term outlook.
"There is less confidence in the forecasts for the last half of the year," CPC said in a statement.
During El Niño, unusually warm temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean can cause heavy rains and flooding in parts of the United States and South America. The weather pattern can also trigger droughts in Southeast Asia and Australia.
(Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Nick Zieminski)