Magazine article Workforce

Some Business People Praise El Nino; Others Curse It

Magazine article Workforce

Some Business People Praise El Nino; Others Curse It

Article excerpt

THE DISRUPTION OF THE OCEAN ATMOsphere system in the tropical Pacific, El Nino, has had a major effect on U.S. businesses over the past several months. But this isn't the first such tropical atmospheric disturbance.

El Nino, which means "the little boy" in Spanish, is the appearance of unusually warm water in the Pacific ocean, usually occurring near the beginning of the year, according to information from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In late 1997 and early 1998, El Nino has disrupted weather patterns around the world and is responsible for deadly tornadoes in Florida and record rainfall in California and the Southeast. Yet, the Northeast and much of the Midwest have had mild temperatures.

For example Carol Hawken, director of HR, at the University of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, reports, "We haven't had to close down our business because of weather at all this winter." Whereas last year, winter there started in November with an ice storm and snowstorms continued until April. Hawken adds: "Last winter I could have moaned about the weather, the costs, the depression of the employees, and the number of workdays and school days missed, but not this year. We could use El Nino every year!" Still, El Nino has made its share of enemies of employees and the HR managers trying to support them. …

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