El Nino may be coming back

El Nino may be coming back

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

We may see some goofy and destructive weather next spring. Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said El Nino is likely to reappear, but it’s too soon to know how dangerous it may be.

A report from Reuters said forecasters made the prediction based on warmer water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.

The last El Nino in 1997-98 was especially severe and was believed responsible for severe droughts in Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines, and floods in Peru and Ecuador.

“At this point, it is too early to predict if this El Nino might develop along the same lines as the 1997-98 episode, or be weaker,” said NOAA climate specialist, Vernon Kousky.

The Reuters report said El Nino can cause major effects on wind and rainfall patterns around the globe, causing storms, droughts and crop failures. It quoted Kousky as saying: “From agriculture to energy, on down to the small convenience-store owner who is stockpiling snow shovels, El Nino really is an all-encompassing phenomenon.”

In the U.S., El Nino generally means cooler and wetter weather. NOAA decided to issue its forecast after observing cloudiness and precipitation over the central Pacific for the first time since the last El Nino.

The first part of the world to feel the effects of this phenomenon would be the tropical Pacific. It could mean an easing of torrential rains in Indonesia, for example.

Forecasters said the Pacific Northwest may experience a wetter than normal fall if El Nino develops as they think. Louisiana, Florida and possibly southern California could get above average rainfall, they said, while the northern Great Plains may see warmer than usual temperatures.

Steven Mauget, USDA meteorologist, commented: “This is unusual. El Nino developments don’t usually show this early in the year. Usually, the earlier they develop, the stronger they tend to be.”

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