El Nio might return this year
Tue, 11 Mar 2014 23:02:19 GMT —
What brings rain to California, thunderstorms to the Midwest and kills Atlantic hurricanes? El Nio!
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, issued a forecast calling for a 50% chance for a significant El Nio event this year.
El Nio is a hurricane killer and usually means a less active hurricane season.
Here's how it works:
El Nio is caused when easterly winds over the Pacific slacken allowing a pool of warmer water to drift east all the way to the western coast of South America. The warm water forces mid to upper level winds over South and Central America into the Atlantic region where hurricanes are born. The stronger upper level winds shear, or chop, off the hurricanes as they develop upward.
El Nio won't stamp out every developing hurricane but a strong El Nio could seriously lessen the threat of the overall hurricane season.
Other impacts from El Nio include a wetter West Coast and a better chance for strong thunderstorms from the Plains to the Midwest.
La Nia is just the opposite where the warm water sloshes further west in the Pacific resulting in a more aggressive Atlantic Hurricane season.
Neither La Nia nor El Nio has appeared since 2012.