Cooling in Pacific could heat up our hurricane season

MIAMI (AP) - La Nina is developing in the Pacific Ocean, and that cooling of waters generally brings a more active Atlantic hurricane season.

La Nina is the counterpart to El Nino, a warming of Pacific waters near the equator that creates a less conducive environment for tropical cyclones in the Atlantic. Both ocean conditions are hard to predict long-term and do not follow regular patterns.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that while it's not official yet, they expect that this pattern will continue to develop during the next three months.

So far this season, there have been five named storms and two hurricanes. Both hurricanes -- Dean and Felix -- reached top-scale strength before hitting Central America, an unprecedented event in a single year since record keeping began.

Experts say La Nina will also extend drought in the U.S. Southwest this fall and create wetter than normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest.