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“If they get too much rain, I think they’d rather have that situation rather than another year of drought,” Halpert said. “Sometimes you have to pick your poison.”

Australia and South Africa should be dry while parts of South America become dry and parts become wet in an El Nino. Peru suffers the most, getting floods and poorer fishing.

The climate event got the name El Nino, meaning the boy in Spanish, when it was first noticed off the coast of Peru and Ecuador around Christmas time and was named after Christ child, according to Trenberth.

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Online:

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center El Nino page: http://1.usa.gov/1jSaUB3

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Seth Borenstein can be followed at http://twitter.com/borenbears