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Climate Adaptation

La Nina Is Here, Threatening Even Bigger Blazes and Storms

  • Weather phenomenon may keep needed rains at bay in U.S. West
  • La Nina can mean more, stronger hurricanes in the Atlantic
A firefighter battles the Creek fire in Madera County, California.
A firefighter battles the Creek fire in Madera County, California.
Updated on

The extreme weather that’s hammered California with runaway wildfires and hit Louisiana with its most powerful hurricane in 160 years may be about to get even worse.

La Nina -- a phenomenon that occurs when the surface of the Pacific Ocean cools -- has officially formed, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center said Thursday. It triggers an atmospheric chain reaction that stands to roil weather around the globe, often turning the western U.S. into a tinder box, fueling more powerful hurricanes in the Atlantic and flooding parts of Australia and South America.