El Nino's Visit Brings Good and Bad to Region

By Kennedy, Kristy | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 1, 1998 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

El Nino's Visit Brings Good and Bad to Region


Kennedy, Kristy, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Kristy Kennedy Daily Herald Staff Writer

There's more than just odd weather that may be blamed on El Nino.

Bevies of bugs, intense allergies and a lack of lettuce - it'll probably be the weather phenomena's fault.

These are usual attributes of El Nino, which occurs about every seven years. El Nino, Spanish for "the baby," is caused by a shift in the trade winds off the east coast of South America, said Jim Kaplan, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

Weather experts say this El Nino is one of the strongest since the early 1980s, he said.

It hasn't been all bad, though. Chances were better than usual this winter travel plans weren't interrupted by airline delays or cancellations. Flowers bloomed earlier this year. And many golfers got to hit the links as early as February because of unheard of warm weather.

Have lots of ants in your house this spring? Sneezing and wheezing more than usual? Can't get one of those carry-out Caesar salads?

Blame it on El Nino.

That's just the start of things attributed to the weather phenomenon that occurs about every seven years. Here are some of the good items:

Chances were better than usual this winter your travel plans weren't interrupted by airline delays or cancellations. Flowers bloomed earlier this year. And many golfers got to hit the links as early as February because of unheard of warm weather.

Weather experts say this El Nino is one of the strongest since the early 1980s, said Jim Kaplan, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

Some believe the 1980s' El Nino caused an unusually hot summer in the Chicago area, Kaplan said. If that is so, he expects this summer to be sweltering.

But other experts have said it may cause chillier temperatures.

El Nino, Spanish for "the baby," refers to Jesus because the first signs of the weather phenomenon occur around the Christmas season, Kaplan said.

This El Nino is still going on, although it should be winding down, he said.

"Predicting the effects of El Nino may be a little easier than predicting El Nino itself," Kaplan said.

The phenomenon is caused by a shift in the trade winds off the east coast of South America, he said.

Normally the water is cold because westerly winds blow shallow water warmed by the sun out to sea, he said. Colder water then replaces it.

But when the winds shift, the upwelling effect is lost and the water along the coast is unusually warm, Kaplan said.

That causes thunderstorms to form over the ocean and disrupt jet stream patterns, keeping most of the cold Arctic air in the northern jet stream from spilling below the Great Lakes.

The effects are felt more directly in the tropics: torrential rains hit places like Peru, and droughts occur in places like Indonesia.

But it affects weather all over the world.

In the Chicago area, El Nino mostly affects the temperature, making it warmer than usual. But in areas like California and Florida, it also produces more rain.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

El Nino's Visit Brings Good and Bad to Region
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?