Thursday, January 19, 2023

El Nino may be back by summer, with all the scary stuff that means


The planet gave us all a break from hurricane-dense El Niño during Covid, but that may be coming to an end.

After three years of cooler temperatures in the tropical Pacific, there are indications things are going to be heating up again. Enough that even the New York Times reviewed it today

For Hawai’i residents, hurricanes are the top-of-consciousness impact of El Niño events. In El Niño years, they are more frequent, on average, than in neutral or La Niña conditions. Occasionally they are lots more frequent.

El Niño is a climate phenomenon. A major feature of El Niño is that a massive pool of warm ocean water migrates from the western to the eastern Pacific along the equator. It happens every few years, and it is associated with global climate impacts: fewer Atlantic tropical cyclones, more Central Pacific storms, drought in Australia and India, more summer rainfall in California, coral bleaching events. In Hawaii, on average, winters are drier in El Niño years.

La Niña is not quite the opposite, but it is a cooler temperature phase in the Pacific, and it has different global impacts.

The current prediction suggests that over the next few months, we will shift from a cooler La Niña  condition toward a neutral condition.

By summer, the forecast shows a more than 50% (and rising after that) likelihood we will shift into an El Niño. That coincides with Hawai’i’s hurricane season.

What does that mean for island residents? If you haven’t made home repairs, haven’t figured out storm window protection, haven’t trimmed that rotten mango limb hanging over the house, haven’t updated your home hurricane kit, it’s probably a good time to get on it.

Here is FEMA’s suggested hurricane kit content list. 

The Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency has its list of recommendations here

 Jan TenBruggencate 2023

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