Polar vortexes, record-breaking cold temperatures, and persistent winter storms may have a lasting impact, experts warn. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center released a new report — with some potentially troubling news. An El Nino cycle may develop “in the summer or fall of this year,” according to Business Insider; there is at least a 50% chance of El Nino developing and ultimately resulting in unpredictable weather and erratic storms.
The last few weeks of winter may seem unbearable. (In fact, the cold can have devastating effects. Freezing cold temperatures may, in extreme circumstances, cause power plants to freeze over, temporarily halting operations altogether.) Even so, Americans — and people all over the world — should be similarly wary of weather extremes caused by El Nino.
Deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center, Mike Halpert, warns Americans that El Nino does not guarantee a lack of hurricanes.
“I always like to remind people of the 1992 hurricane season, which was an El Niño year and only featured seven named storms. But the first one was Andrew,” Halpert tells The Weather Channel. The year 2004 is another example. The Weather Channel continues, “Also, despite development of a weak El Niño, Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne raked parts of Florida during the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season.”
If the Eastern U.S. benefits from El Nino, the weather cycle is highly likely to wreak havoc elsewhere.
“Monsoons in India and droughts in Australia may result. Hawaii would be more likely to see a hurricane. Flooding in Peru and Ecuador are also associated with El Nino,” senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Kevin Trenberth, tells CNN.
Predictions are not, experts concede, all gloom and doom. The East Coast may experience milder weather, thanks to El Nino. Although there may be exceptions, El Nino is typically kind to the the Eastern U.S. — resulting in fewer, weaker hurricanes. If El Nino does not come to fruition this year, we may very well be due for an El Nino cycle relatively soon. According to CNN, El Nino occurs once every three to seven years.