Thursday, January 14, 2016

Weird Wacky Weather

Record heat in December, warm Christmas along the East Coast, cloudy and rainy in January, and now a hurricane in the Atlantic.

Is there an explanation for this? Many blame El Niño. We've been hearing about it since before the start of hurricane season 2015.

According to Scientific American, "the current 2015–16 El Niño is one of the three strongest ever recorded. The other two occurred in 1982–83 and 1997–98".   Many in the media are referring to it as 'The Godzilla El Niño".  Worst yet, it should hit its peak this winter.

For those who may not know, El Niño is a warming of the equatorial waters of the Pacific Ocean. It messes with marine and atmospheric currents alike making for wet conditions in typically dry areas and vise versa.

This phenomenon may cause nasty storms that impact the west coast of the US, but not all storms are sparked by El Niño. Again, in an article by Scientific American, they explain, "storms may be influenced by “El Niño but not one storm can be called “an El Niño storm.”

However, there is something that may be a direct impact. The warming of the Pacific waters caused a very active 2015 Pacific season. Here's the end-of-season report from NHC:

For the 2015 hurricane season overall, the basin was very active
with 18 named storms, 13 hurricanes, and 9 major hurricanes. There
were three unnamed tropical depressions and another tropical
depression that formed in the basin that became a tropical storm
(Ela) in the central North Pacific. Activity for 2015 was well above
the long-term means of 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major
hurricanes. The number of major hurricanes observed in the basin in
2015 was the highest since reliable records began in 1971.

On the other hand, "El Niño" made for a quieter hurricane season in the Atlantic basin.

The bottom line is that Mother Earth is constantly changing and its difficult to pin point any one single entity responsible for all the "Strange" weather we've seen lately.

None stranger than a winter hurricane. As of  Thursday January 14th, there is a category 1 system in the Eastern Atlantic by the name of "Alex". It should impact the Azores before dissipating over the weekend in the cold waters of the Northern Atlantic.

So is this part of "El Niño"?, Not really. Most of "El Niño's" impacts tend to be across North America and parts of South America.  "Alex" may just be a fluke.

This is not without precedent: Back in 1938 a Hurricane developed on January 1st with winds of 80 mph. Then there was "Alice", which became a category 1 on December 31st 1954, and lingered into January of '55.

We will continue to monitor "El Niño", the melting of Polar Caps, and all the other climate factors influencing our weather. This winter may be more active than we'd like it to be.


  1. Phil, seems to me there is a lot more stress out there, everywhere, among the people, in the air...

  2. phil alex is a catagory 1 storm and its going north but
    here in the sunshine state should be cold all over the

  3. Jan, and Mother Nature is feeling the brunt of it. Between fracking, more frequent earthquakes, record warmth and El Niño... whew!

  4. James, we will be stormy on Friday, then another front moves in on Sunday that may cool us down into the mid 50's by early next week.

  5. Hey Phil. My sister lives in lady lake Fla. They are saying tornadoes are likely to form there tomorrow. That worries me.Also,are we going to have that kind of weather in Oakland Park? As always thank you for the information.

  6. Sorry for the delay, but the nasty weather kept me busy. By now you know we had some strong storms across So FL. Tonight looking nice, Sunny Saturday. Rainy Sunday ahead of a cold front for Monday.