These folks had checked weather within 24 hours – still were caught
The developing El Nino is stronger than the last major event of its type in 1997.
According to the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the UK Met Office, this El Nino is shaping up to be the strongest since records began in 1950.
El Nino is a natural phenomenon which occurs every two to seven years and lasts between six and 18 months.
It manifests as a warming of the surface waters of the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. The current El Nino is so strong that in some areas sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are more than 2 degrees Celsius above the long-term average.
Aside from the devastating effect that El Nino has on the Peruvian fishing industry, the real significance lies in the change in weather patterns that it produces around the globe.
In the Pacific, the warmer waters in the eastern part of the ocean have spawned more typhoons, super typhoons and hurricanes than usual, with the tracks of those storm systems also being altered considerably. Severe weather conditions have been experienced around the Asia-Pacific region…
In North America, where much of the south and west has been experiencing the worst drought in a century, the El Nino could bring the benefit of rain, although if the El Nino of 1997-98 is anything to go by, that rain could result in severe flooding and deaths.
Yup. Here in New Mexico, many look forward to El Niño. Snowier winters bring lots of tourists to the best powder skiing in the United States. In high desert country, more moisture is always welcome. As long as people are bright enough to stay out of arroyos and away from flash flood danger, the additional precipitation is beneficial.
In the Caribbean, the developing El Nino has already had the opposite effect to the one experienced in the Pacific: namely, it has reduced hurricane frequency by causing an increase in wind shear. This is a change of wind direction and speed with height that can disrupt hurricane formation.
In Africa, El Ninos are associated with drought across southern portions of the continent, and drought in countries such as Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa is causing a looming food crisis.
Even Europe is not immune from the effects of an El Nino. If this year’s event follows the pattern of previous ones, then winter weather here could be colder and drier than average and last well into spring.
Regular readers down in Oz are well aware of the dangers El Niño brings to their part of Earth. The fire danger experienced there can be the worst on the planet.
No two El Ninos are the same. There are lots of other short and long-term variables in the global weather patterns, but the coming months could see some unusual and spectacular weather in many parts of the world.