El Niño


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Many of you may have heard of El Nino or La Nina, which both cause an irregular occurrence and complex series of climatic changes that generate from Peru, Ecuador, and the tropical west coast of South America. This year El Nino usually occurs during the winter months and I’ll begin to explain how it works and why it’s important to understand these changes.

To briefly explain how El Nino works, normally winds are pushed east to west across the tropical Pacific which causes deeper and colder waters to form atop the surface. During El Nino, these winds are weakened and cause deep waters to halt. “The consequent warming of the ocean surface further weakens the winds and strengthens El Niño. As the ocean warms, the warmer water shifts eastward and so do the clouds and thunderstorms that produce heavy rainfall along the equator”, says National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Over the course of history, the most severe impact that El Nino has had on the U.S was in 1997-98 with the second warmest winter and seventh wettest since 1895, breaking the record of unusual extremes throughout the nation according to NOAA. In addition, El Nino formed an ice storm in the northeast, tornadoes in Florida, and major flooding in California as well. This year, it’s looking to match if not surpass guaranteed strengths in wind and pressures that have already caused major outcomes in the west coast.

On October 15th, the San Diego Union-Tribune released a news coverage of what El Nino has caused thus far. “After months of very little rain, Mother Nature came roaring back late Thursday with a torrential storm that swamped highways north of Los Angeles and left dozens of drivers stranded,” says the SDUT, “while photos and videos showed the tons of mud and debris that inundated Interstate 5 at the Grapevine and surrounding areas that shut down some 40 miles of roadway from Castaic through Gorman in both directions. In one video, a panicked truck driver who was on state Route 58 in Tehachapi can be heard calling 911 as he looks out his windshield at what looks like a roiling ocean that has cars floating like boats. Officials say that at least 200 vehicles, including 75 tractor-trailers, were trapped in some 20 feet of mud in the area.” Having the main interstate of San Diego engulfed in mud due to the power and unpredictable events caused by El Nino is what should concern us the most and we need to be more aware of these things, not only to help ourselves but others as well.

Overall, things are looking to be very cautious with what El Nino is bringing to the table. With the five year drought California has been battling these thunder storms do help the dry state, but the overall outcome does not help due to the severities caused by El Nino. Do a little research and keep the news on because you may need to know firsthand what is coming your way.

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El Niño