El Nino Year

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2006/09/sea-surface-temps-09-11-2006c-thumb.gifThere was a news item today that scientists have declared this an (unexpected) El Nino year which will continue into the early part of 2007. Of course this happens to be the rainy season in Southern California … and could mean a much rainier season. Not that this year wasn’t rainy.

If you want to know what the last El Nino was like, here’s a 1997 report.

More alarmingly, this is a good time to remind ourselves that Los Angeles is not immune to hurricanes. We are normally protected by the deep and cold water off our shores, but in 1997 we almost had a big one. One more reason to keep that emergency kit well-stocked.

It’s interesting to note that last year’s 2005-06’s rainy season (2nd heaviest on record) gave us over 37 inches of precipitation and the 97-98 El Nino gave us a little over 31 inches. But I guess it’s all about how much of that falls all at once. (Normal is about 14″ a year.)

Links: NOAA Advisory

One thought on “El Nino Year”

  1. Hey, I was actually thinking of telling one of you about this if it wasnt posted… it could be a big thing for us. Two years ago (that was the 37 inches, not last year), our very wet conditions were NOT caused by El Nino… last year should have been a drought year (it was La Nina) but for some reason it was rather wet in the spring or fall If there is another factor we don’t know about causing the rain, and it combines with El Nino, it might be even wetter this year. But of course, it’s all just conjecture.

    Interestingly, one of the long range computer models (insert weather mumbo jumbo here) is predicting the remnants of a hurricane moving into the area next week and causing a lot of rain. I have to point out that these models are VERY INACCURATE and no one should stay up nights worrying about it. (In fact, one model predicted Hurricane John hitting us as a weakening tropical storm, but it hit down by Cabo instead). But in any event, during an El Nino is the time that these things usually happen, as you said. So, it’s something to keep an eye on. A storm like that would put an early end to the fire season, but would also mean most of the roads where i work in the San Gabriel Mountains will end up falling right off the hill.

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