Despite their simple names, these weather systems can cause a whole lot of trouble.

El Niño isn't likely to form this year, federal forecasters announced Thursday. This could be more bad news for theLa Niña, marked by cooler-than-average sea water in the Pacific, often boosts tropical activity in the Atlantic, one of the reasons for the predicted busy hurricane season.

Forecasters from the Climate Prediction Center on Thursday said that there's an approximately equal chance of La Niña and "ENSO-neutral" conditions for the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season (August-October), according to Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach. 

So-called "ENSO-neutral" conditions mean the seawater in the Pacific is neither unusually warm nor unusually cool. ENSO (El Nino-Southern Oscillation) is the overall term for the entire climate pattern, includng El Niño and La Niña.  

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That overall ENSO climate pattern plays a big role in what weather we can expect across the United States and around the world, especially in the winter months. 

Thursday's forecast jibes with a similar forecast issued in May from the World Meteorological Organization, which also predicted that La Niña or ENSO-neutral conditions would prevail later in the year. 

As for its name, El Niño means "the Little Boy," or "Christ Child" in Spanish. El Niño was originally recognized by fishermen off South America in the 1600s, with the appearance of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean around Christmas.

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