From USA Today (Doyle Rice):
ENSO-neutral, colloquially known as “La Nada,” is the midpoint between El Niño and La Niña, and occurs when temperatures are near average in the Pacific Ocean.
Although La Nina is on the way out, it will “continue affecting temperature and precipitation across the United States during the next few months,” the Climate Prediction Center said Thursday.
“La Niña will decay and return to ENSO-neutral during the Northern Hemisphere spring 2018,” the prediction center said. “The forecast consensus also favors a transition during the spring with a continuation of ENSO-neutral conditions thereafter.”
The “in between” ocean state of ENSO can be frustrating for long-range forecasters. “It’s like driving without a decent road map — it makes forecasting difficult,” said climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The ENSO cycle primarily affects U.S. weather in the fall, winter and spring, and less so in the summer. It can impact the Atlantic hurricane season, however, with El Niño favoring fewer storms and La Niña favoring more.
As for what all of this means for our spring weather here in the U.S., the outlook from the prediction center generally favors dry, warm weather across the southern tier of the nation, and cooler, wetter weather across the northern tier.