NOAA: Strong El Niño Almost Certain to Last Through Winter
We knew El Niño was coming, and earlier today Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, made it official.
"2015's El Niño now ranks third behind 1997 and 1985", said Halpert. It was in the winter of 97-98 that 42 Floridians were killed by tornadoes, and severe weather produced more than a half billion dollars in damage.
Peter Wolf, Meteorologist from the National Weather Service, says an El Nino displaces the jet stream, the river of air that steers storm systems, during the winter months,
“It tends to favor a more southern storm track from California across the Deep South, the Gulf of Mexico and into Florida", Wolf said. "And so we tend to become in an area more favorable for severe storms and tornadoes in the early spring.”
And while severe weather is too difficult to predict past a couple of days, he says there’s is an even larger long term concern that could affect many more Floridians,
"The most significant impact we generally see in Florida is above-normal wintertime precipitation, even the potential for flooding-type rainfall amounts, and we've seen that in some of the other past strong El Nino events", said Wolf.
The Florida Public Radio Emergency Network will continue to monitor the latest developments on the current El Niño and will pass along more information on how it could affect you or your business this winter in the coming weeks.
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