Local News

El Nino Blamed for Many Triangle Woes

Posted February 22, 1998

— Triangle residents haven't had to deal with tornados or mudslides due to El Nino this winter, but there has been more rain and flooding than is normal. It is all courtesy of El Nino.

El Nino means Little Boy, but this weather pattern has had a very big impact. In November a group of North Carolina State University researchers predicted the area would get a lot of rain this winter. Now, they're trying to see what else might lie ahead.

This year's torrential rains on the west coast, erosion on the east coast, and flash flooding in the Triangle could all be the direct result of El Nino. Brian Potter, an NC State researcher, says whatever the patterns are, we are stuck with them.

Potter, and the El Nino research team at NC State, are trying to take some of the mystery and guesswork out of the impact of El Nino. Out of the high-tech state climate office comes an important conclusion. El Nino is hard to predict.

If El Nino's wet winters seem like a problem, consider La Nina, El Nino's sister weather pattern. La Nina often follows El Nino with a dry summer, followed by increased hurricane activity. For now the NC State researchers say they'll continue to look for answers.

The NC State researchers hope to be able to more efficiently warn farmers, utility companies and others who could be affected by El Nino storms. They'd also like to hear from anyone with questions or comments. The number to call is919-515-3056

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