The NOAA Climate Prediction Center has announced the official return of La Niña, the periodic cooling of ocean waters in the east-central equatorial Pacific that favors continued drought in the U.S. southern plains.

The presence of a La Niña also increases the odds of a drought in the western Corn Belt this summer. The La Niña pattern is weak now, but NOAA predicts the event will likely remain through late spring and possibly into the summer months.