Record-setting El Niño could have deadly impact

Written by By Kate Malkin, for CNN

One of the strongest El Niño events on record has done little to cool the Atlantic’s waters, according to AccuWeather.

The weather forecaster says a “dramatic, repeat of last year’s storm surge” is looking likely in the year ahead, with the following likely scenarios:

An El Niño that peaks in June, exacerbated by the release of atmospheric heat from Indonesia’s summer monsoon, lasting until July and early August. This will be followed by a weak to moderate La Niña event, caused by cooler than normal waters in the tropical Pacific. Tropical storms, many of which will become hurricanes, will also cause flooding from the Florida Keys to North Carolina. The hurricane season lasts from June 1 through November 30.

An El Niño that peaks in June, exacerbated by the release of atmospheric heat from Indonesia’s summer monsoon, lasting until July and early August. This will be followed by a weak to moderate La Niña event, caused by cooler than normal waters in the tropical Pacific. Tropical storms, many of which will become hurricanes, will also cause flooding from the Florida Keys to North Carolina. The hurricane season lasts from June 1 through November 30. An El Niño that peaks in July, exacerbated by the release of atmospheric heat from India’s summer monsoon, lasting until August. This will result in a hybrid hurricane season, during which the United States will see hurricanes coming from the Atlantic and hitting Asia.

an El Niño that peaks in July, exacerbated by the release of atmospheric heat from India’s summer monsoon, lasting until August. This will result in a hybrid hurricane season, during which the United States will see hurricanes coming from the Atlantic and hitting Asia. Some southerly (or southwest) systems will result in heavy rain and/or flooding in the southern United States, while west coast storms could produce winter-like weather for much of California and Nevada.

heavy rain and/or flooding in the southern United States, while west coast storms could produce winter-like weather for much of California and Nevada. A neutral El Niño event will reign throughout the remainder of the year, allowing a string of weaker or non-tropical systems to form in the tropics.

“Conditions remain favorable for another very active season, which would be right in line with the near-historic odds of an above-normal season that were put out by the Climate Prediction Center,” senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said in a statement.

“The question is when,” he said. “Under this scenario, we have another 70%-85% chance of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season and a near- or below-normal winter. Typically, the two will coincide in nearly equal measure.”

Sosnowski said that the prospect of a warm, dry southern hemisphere winter, which is typical for the current El Niño, would make it harder for storms to form over the Atlantic Basin.

AccuWeather

The potentially next big hurricane will be less worrisome to those exposed to its destructive impact. AccuWeather’s predictions are based on the theory that neither El Niño nor La Niña can significantly change the fate of a storm, and both can interact with each other.

Only when conditions present a “transitive function” — in which a storm becomes stronger when an El Niño occurs and weaker when La Niña occurs — can we be sure the storm will turn toward the United States.

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