by Androniki Bossonis
What is El Niño ?
El Niño is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation, resulting from a band of warm ocean water that develops off the Pacific coast of South America. El Niño Southern Oscillation refers to the cycle of warm and cold temperatures, as measured by sea surface temperature. El Niño is accompanied by high air pressure in the western Pacific and low air pressure in the eastern Pacific. El Niños transfer heat stored in the deeper layers of the ocean to the surface. When combined with global warming, that can lead to record hot years, as in 1998
The cool phase El Niño is called “La Niña. The ENSO cycle, both El Niño and La Niña, causes global changes of both temperatures and rainfall. Mechanisms that cause the oscillation remain under study.
Severe El Niño ’s cause record heat, heavy rain, flooding and flash flooding, so be prepared.
What Can We Expect This Year?
This year’s El Niño weather pattern could be the most powerful on record. While the effects of the weather system are never certain, the Climate Prediction Center for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts this El Niño to be among the strongest in recorded history. It is already the strongest for this time of year in more than 60 years. The 2015 El Niño is already being referred to as “The Godzilla El Niño.”
El Niño is expected to reach California by late fall, early winter.
Can El Niño Help The CA Drought?
Although we can expect heavy rains, it will likely not be enough to reverse the California drought. To combat the drought, we depend on snowfall. May people mistakenly think that a period of heavy rain can resolve a drought crisis, when in fact, it cannot.
How To Prepare For Possible Flooding, Heavy Wind and Rain
- Check your home for areas that may leak, and make any small repairs before the season hits.
- Make sure electrical components, furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
- Make sure your home Make an itemized list of personal property (clothing, furniture, vehicles, and valuables). Take photographs of your home, both inside and out, and store in a safe place. This will help an insurance adjuster to settle any claims.
- Form an evacuation plan. The key to surviving an El Niño flood is to learn the safest route away from your home to a safe area, in case you need to evacuate in a hurry.
- Prepare emergency supplies: emergency cooking equipment, food, batteries, flashlights and portable radios in good working order.
- Check your home insurance policy for disaster insurance coverage, and purchase flood insurance ahead of time if necessary. Keep your insurance policies and itemized list of personal property in a safe location.
- Have a plan to protect your pets.
Just for fun…
The famous Chris Farley sketch on El Niño