05/30/2014 | El Nino Could Bring Severe Weather This Year Across North America
Editor's Note: This is HIPOWER SYSTEMS' first blog on its newly launched website. Since it is posting at the start of hurricane season, it seemed appropriate to discuss weather. In future blogs, we will cover everything from industrial energy and power conferences/events to new advances in power generation and distribution.
On June 1 of every year, enterprises and citizens in some regions of the U.S. (and increasingly, parts of Canada) begin to alter their behaviors in preparation for hurricane season. For example, families on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts might stockpile some water and start keeping less food in their freezers. In the same areas, businesses and industrial concerns might check the maintenance logs on their backup generators and ensure their disaster continuity plans are up to date. In much of the rest of the U.S. and Canada, life goes on pretty
much as normal.
Yet, given the troubling conditions in many areas, including moderate to severe drought in parts of Texas, California and the U.S. Southwest, and a massive melting snowpack in Canada and the Great Lakes region, we believe everyone should be thinking about what the summer might hold. This hurricane season is predicted to be slightly quieter than normal, thanks to the expected development of at least a moderate El Nino in late summer or fall and cooler-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean.
However, some forecasters think this year could bring an intense, not a moderate, El Nino. When El Nino is intense, it can spawn severe weather in many areas of North America besides the hurricane prone coasts.
El Nino, given that name for its appearance (at times) around Christmas, is a "blister" of ocean-surface heat that migrates east from the western Pacific, halting, and sometimes reversing, the prevailing trade winds. Intense El Nino episodes can bring dramatic weather in unexpected places. In 1998, a powerful El Nino triggered tempests, floods, ice storms, droughts and harvest failures in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Bill Patzert, of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, has stated that the current pattern of sea surface heights and temperatures reminds him of the spring of 1997, which was the set up for a big El Nino event. This comes on top of the warning by Australian scientists that current environmental conditions could increase the frequency of severe El Nino episodes.
Does that mean there will be more rain and mudslides in the Northwest or Colorado, or more wildfires spawned by the tinder-dry vegetation and Santa Ana winds in California? No one knows, but numerous climatologists are predicting severe weather issues in a large portion of the U.S.
Here at HIPOWER SYSTEMS' headquarters in Kansas, we're gearing up for a stormy summer, as cooler than normal weather in the Great Lakes region and hot, dry weather in Texas are predicted to create a battleground for severe storms in the Midwest, Ohio Valley and central Appalachians. Some of these will migrate to the Atlantic, meaning everyone from Nebraska and Kansas to the Carolinas could be in for very intense rain events.
These severe weather outbreaks tend to cause power outages, so we're stocking plenty of towable and portable generators, including both diesel and natural gas generators, for our distributors, rental partners and sales agents. We'll be ready for whatever comes. We hope you will be, too.
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