NEW YORK (Reuters) - The equatorial Pacific Ocean will not be plagued by an El Nino or La Nina weather anomaly in the summer of 2011, the first time since 2009 when conditions are neutral in the region, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center said Thursday.
The CPC said in a monthly report that conditions will be neutral "through the northern hemisphere summer" but the outlook beyond the summer is uncertain. The CPC is an officer under the U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.
El Nina and La Nina are weather patterns that often follow one another in the Pacific ocean.
The more famous El Nino causes an abnormal warming of waters in the Pacific and the 2009/10 event caused the failure of India's vital monsoon in 2009.
This was followed by the strongest La Nina in a decade from 2010 to 2011, which is widely blamed for the worst drought in a century in Texas and across the southwestern United States.
(Graphic showing the Oceanic Nino Index: http://link.reuters.com/xu125r)
Coffee experts said the momentary equilibrium between the two anomalies meant the risk of frost in Brazil's main coffee areas are at their highest since 2000.
Colorado State University forecasters said the neutral conditions could contribute to storm development in the just started annual Atlantic hurricane season.
The forecasters are predicting this season will be a busy one with 16 tropical storms and that nine of those will grow into hurricanes.
The oil industry is particularly sensitive about storms roaring into the Gulf of Mexico because it would shut down crude production in the area.
The word La Nina means literally 'little girl' in Spanish. El Nino or little boy was named after the Christ child because it was first observed by Latin American anchovy fishermen in the 19th century.
(Reporting by Rene Pastor; editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)