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What's with This Weather...el Nino, La This the Year of the Little Weather Kids

Updated on August 29, 2014

The Weather

I'm somewhat of a "weatherholic," (is that even a word, probably not)? Anyway I tend to manage my life by the weather, I can't start my day without knowing what the weather is, and not just where I live, any, and everywhere that weather is reported on. The nightly news, especially the weather is part of my nightly ritual. I don't consider myself a meteorologist, or anything even close. However, when I hear a major weather story I am transfixed to the TV, computer, or radio, until it subsides, and, if it lasts for weeks, oh well. I happened to be in Atlanta during Katrina, and I was transfixed to the TV, continually, (I digress), back to the subject at hand. I guess that's why when I first heard about El Nino I was intrigued, that was about 25 years ago. Incidentally that was probably when the article appeared in National Geographic circa 1982-83, calling that event one of the worst El Nino's up to that point. That year the global catastrophe killed around 2,000 worldwide and caused over 13 billion dollars in damage. So, when I hear rumblings about El Nino, La Nina, now, I sit up and take notice. I also vividly remember El Nino of 1997-1998, more about that later.

Within the last few years, the weather has been wreaking havoc worldwide. What with Katrina, the recent Tsunami's in the South Pacific and other harsh weather conditions. Now comes rumbling about El Nino, within the last few months, promising, according to some experts, to be one of the more devastating occurrences, of El Nino.

I'll attempt to share some of my understandings of El Nino and La Nina from what I've read, so if somewhere along the line, I miss a point or two, please correct me. There is a plethora of information on the subject and I've read quite a bit, however at this time I won't go into the subject in too great a detail, just enough for laymen like most of us to understand the basics.

A few weather facts about both El Nino and La Nina.

El Nino

  • Rain and flooding along the Pacific coast
  • Warm water disrupts food chain of fish, birds, and see mammals
  • Tornadoes and thunderstorms in Southern US
  • Fewer than normal hurricanes in the Atlantic

La Nina

  • Snow and rain on the west coast
  • Unusually cold weather in Alaska
  • Unusually warm weather in the rest of the USA
  • Drought in the southwest
  • Higher than normal number of hurricanes in the Atlantic

What is El Nino and La Nina

El Nino, pronounced (El Nee-nyo), meaning "Little Boy," is the warming of water in the Pacific Ocean.

La Nina, pronounced, (Lah Nee-Nyah),meaning "Little Girl," is the cooling of water in the Pacific Ocean.

El Nino is more prevalent than La Nina, however both are considered the most powerful phenomenon on the earth, which alters the climate across more than half the earth.

El Nino has an "abnormal effect on the main components of climate-----sunshine, temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, cloud formation, and ocean currents." This being a global occurrence. Apparently all of the components of this condition have to be in sync for it to be considered an El Nino. So my understanding is one particularly bad weather condition, such as a Tsunami, Hurricane etc. does not in themselves indicate an El Nino condition. To reiterate, all components must be in place before experts declares an El Nino condition.

El Nino usually starts around Christmas, and can last up to 18 months from start to finish. El Nino is a traveling or oscillating weather pattern that leaves in devastation it's wake. It's considered nature's vicious cycle

Are we in an El Nino Year

I haven't spent much time on La Nina in this article, because, well, for one reason, it would make it a very long read, and another reason it appears that La Nina does not pack as much of a wallop as El Nino. So, I'll just leave it for another time. Now back to El Nino.

According to reports we are in an El Nino year. The explanation is so complex, I'll just give links for further perusal.

Prior Recorded El Nino Years

1902-1903 1905-1906 1911-1912 1914-1915 1918-1919 1923-1924 1925-1926 1930-1931 1932-1933 1939-1940 1941-1942 1951-1952 1953-1954 1957-1958 1965-1966 1969-1970 1972-1973 1976-1977 1982-1983 1986-1987 1991-1992 1994-1995 1997-1998 2002-2003

Of these years the 97-98 event was the strongest ever recorded.

According to the National Weather Service, (Climate Prediction Center): "The expected impact of El Nino during November 2009-January 2010 include enhanced precipitation over the central tropical Pacific Ocean and a continuation of drier-than-average conditions over Indonesia. Tor the contiguous United States, potential impacts include above-average precipitation for Florida, central and eastern Texas, and California, with below-average precipitation for parts of the Pacific Northwest. Above-average temperatures and below-average snowfall is most likely for the Northern Rockies, Northern Plains, and Upper Midwest, while below-average temperatures are expected for the southern states."

That paragraph in a nutshell should give us enough to prepare for this year's El Nino events.


August, 2010, from all appearances we are actually in an El Nino Year.  The numerous adverse weather conditions, such as freak storms, unusually (worldwide), warming trends, all point to that fact.   So what are we to do?  NOTHING!  Just wait it out.  Of course there might be precautions that we can take depending to our specific location.  If that be the case then we should do that, barring that, "just wait it out."

Pictures of El Nino Southern Oscillation of 1997-1998


So, in conclusion, according to published reports we are in an El Nino year. I always believe forewarned is forearmed, and I've attempted to forewarn, by listing, to the best of my ability, the causes and effects of El Nino. Also, where and what to expect, as far as the experts are concerned, from this phenomenon.

© 2009 Alfreta Sailor


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    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks William for the additional info. I wait with bated breath to see what this year brings. Thanks for stopping, please stop again soon.

    • William R. Wilson profile image

      William R. Wilson 8 years ago from Knoxville, TN

      Very nice, factual info. 1998 was also the year with highest global average temperatures, so it will be interesting to see what happens to global temperatures in 2010. I'm a fan (I mean follower!)

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks tobey100 for stopping and reading my hub, please stop over again soon.

    • tobey100 profile image

      tobey100 8 years ago from Whites Creek, Tennessee

      I absolutely love it. Great hub. You sound exactly like my father, also a weatherholic. Also, that you for the tip on moving comments to the end of the hub. Corrected all mine and they look better, less cluttered. Thanks

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks bayareagreatthing, I too remember that one, and as you I hope it is not as severe. Thanks for stopping by, please come again.

    • bayareagreatthing profile image

      bayareagreatthing 8 years ago from Bay Area California

      I remember the 1998 one! It was a torrential downpour for wheat felt like months here in California. I hope it is less severe this time around. I know we sure need the snow pack to keep out of drought trouble. Good hub FF!

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks ladydijay for stopping, and I do remember that occasion, and you are so right about the fires causes additional troubles for our area. See you soon.

      Thanks habee, for your compliment. Hope to see you soon.

    • profile image

      ladydijay 8 years ago

      Thanks fastfreta, I'm glad to hear about these events. The last time we had an El Nino my roof fell in. This time if it rains really hard, we have to be concerned because the station fire left us with bare ground. Thanks again for the heads up!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Excellent research and reporting! Thanks!

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks creativeone for stopping, hope to see you soon.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thanks for a well written hub on El NINO, LA NINA, thank you so much for sharing. Godspeed. creativeone59

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you Lady_E for reading, and yes by checking out the links you will get far more than I could have put in the hub. Thanks for stopping,see you soon.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 8 years ago from London, UK

      I enjoyed reading it - very interesting. Will bookmark it, so I can take time to go through the Links.

      Thanks for a very informative Hub. :)

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks emohealer, I agree there was a lot of technical info, and it took a lot of work to sift through and get the basic information needed to understand exactly what the condition is. And to think I didn't like research, but I'm beginning to enjoy it. Thanks again for stopping by.

      Thanks lorlie6, it was a lot of research, and I learned a lot doing it. I'm beginning to appreciate research more now. Thanks for stopping.

      Thank you very much Hello, hello, yes lots of research. Thanks for stopping.

      Thanks all for stopping, please come again soon.

    • emohealer profile image

      Sioux Ramos 8 years ago from South Carolina

      Very, very informative, beign in El Nino year explains all of the tornadoes and what not we have experienced in the south along with the reduced hurricane weather. Interesting to say the least. This is something I have wondered about, but it got so technical as you said that I gave up. A great summation I can understand! Great work!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      What fabulous research! I love the graphs in particular. I am a resident of the Eastern Sierras in California and we are expecting far more snow here than usual, let's hope for snow and no floods!

      Thanks for putting so much work into this Hub-I'm a weatheraholic too!!!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      Hello, fastfreda, nice to read a hub from again and with lots of research and information. This was great.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you Hovalis, you sound as if you could have written this hub with the same passion as I had. I appreciate the info that you shared. Thanks for stopping and reading, and thanks for your comments. Please come back again soon.

      Thanks Veronica for stopping, and I agree with you concerning paying close attention to what's going on around us. Thanks for stopping, please come again.

    • Hovalis profile image

      Hovalis 8 years ago from Australia

      One of the measures in Australia for El Nino is called the Southern Oscillation Index, and it's monitored constantly. When you get the storms, we get drought and high temperatures. It's amazing isn't it, that despite the ocean between us we are all watching the same thing with trepidation for different reasons. Thanks for a fantastically well researched hub. (ps I can't go a day without checking the weather radar, just because I have to know!)

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for all the research you put into this article. I really think it's vital to keep up with extreme weather as such. Often times it's our not paying heed that can put us into serious danger.