In case you didn’t notice, this week has seen some of the strangest weather in recent memory. All over the world there have been countless records broken and no shortage of unseasonable climate events. In some regions, things just seem upside down with rain, snow, and heat showing up in places where they typically aren’t seen this time of year. By themselves, each of these events appear to be nothing more than odd anomalies. When considered together however, there’s seems to be an epidemic of unusual weather.
Experts and layman alike have been blaming these events on the arrival of El Niño, though it’s not clear if that weather pattern can explain everything. If El Niño really is to blame, then we may be in for some downright freaky weather for the next few years. Here’s what’s been reported so far:
- The Mississippi River has seen some of the worst flooding in 25 years, between Missouri and Illinois. In some parts, there have been 3 day rainfalls of 9-11 inches, which usually only happen every 100 to 300 years. Nine levees have failed to contain the water, and at least 20 people have been killed.
- Los Angeles, which is notorious for its perpetually sunny weather, has experienced “real weather” for the first time in years. For those of you who live in states that experience blistering cold weather in the winter, you can laugh all you want, but the weather station at the USC campus reported a low of 36 degrees on December 27th. That was a tie for the station’s all time record low, which was set in 1916. Also, California is finally getting the rain it so desperately needs. Sierra snow pack levels are 136% higher than they usually are this time of year.
- The Dallas area experienced a tremendous tornado over the weekend that had 166mph winds. It killed 11 people and destroyed over a thousand homes and businesses. While Texas is no stranger to tornadoes, this was the first time in 15 years that an EF-4 tornado occurred on American soil in December. It’s also the furthest west that a tornado of that size has been seen in December.
- Canada has also been hit with a storm that experts believe is related to the weather conditions in Texas. But the storm itself isn’t that strange. It’s the fact that it was the first major winter storm to hit the region this season, and it arrived a month later than usual.
- South America is also seeing some crazy floods this week, which have been blamed on El Niño. Over 150,000 people have been displaced in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil.
- And finally, the craziest weather in the world is happening where there aren’t any people. The same weather pattern that caused flooding and tornadoes in the US, is making its way towards the North Pole. It has brought with it, some unseasonably warm weather for the region. The temperature around the North Pole rose to 32 degrees, which is 50 degrees warmer than it would normally be this time of year.
So what do you think? Is El Niño responsible for all this wicked weather, or is there another good explanation?