El Niño: Giant Pacific Hurricanes on Parade

June 6, 2016
Category 4 Hurricanes
NASA

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This is the only time on record that a parade of giant Category 4 hurricanes is strolling through the Pacific.

Here in the continental US, El Niños make us happy. The event means fewer Atlantic Hurricanes and more rainfall for our gardens. But in the state of Hawaii, El Niños are scary. See those little islands below? Yep, that’s Hawaii, trying to dodge the deadly winds and destructive tidal surges.

Giant hurricanes strolling through the Pacific Source: NASA’s Earth Observatory

El Niño and Hurricanes: A Double-Edged Sword

The problem is that while an El Niño creates high level winds that limit hurricanes in the Western Atlantic, it creates winds that encourage hurricane formation in the Eastern and Central Pacific. The hot waters and good winds have made the Pacific a playground for hurricanes in the eastern waters and typhoons in the west.

Fortunately none of the storms hit Hawaii directly, Central Pacific Hurricane Kilo didn’t get powerful until it passed Hawaii. It strolled over to Japan, kicked up some high surf and may live to the ripe old age (for a tropical storm) of three weeks. East Pacific Hurricane Ignacio wimped out into a tropical storm and missed a direct hit, just producing high surf and heavy rain. Finally East Pacific Hurricane Jimena has veered north of the islands and threatens to dump a lot of rain on the already drenched islands. (Central and Eastern Pacific hurricanes get their names from different lists.)

Hurricane Ignacio’s remnants are expected to hit Southern Alaska.

Ignacio, is currently breaking out of the parade. It is veering north and its remnants are expected to hit—wait for itAlaska!

Tropical Storm Kevin (off the coast of Mexico) is skipping the parade and hitting the monsoon.

Meanwhile, in back of the big three was a small rebel that didn’t join the march. The Southwest monsoon sucked up Tropical Storm Kevin. Instead of parading the Pacific, Kevin’s remnants are now bringing welcome rainfall to the lawns and gardens of the Desert Southwest, Texas and Kansas.

About This Blog

Are you a weather watcher? Welcome to “Weather Whispers” by James Garriss and until recently, Evelyn Browning Garriss. With expertise and humor, this column covers everything weather—from weather forecasts to WHY extreme weather happens to ways that weather affects your life from farming to your grocery bill. Enjoy weather facts, folklore, and fun!

With heavy hearts, we share the news that historical climatologist and immensely entertaining Almanac contributor Evelyn Browning Garriss passed away in late June 2017. Evelyn shared her lifetime of weather knowledge with Almanac editors and readers, explaining weather phenomena in conversation and expounding on topics in articles for the print edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac as well as in these articles. We were honored to know and work with her as her time allowed, which is to say when she was not giving lectures to, writing articles for, and consulting with scientists, academia, investors, and government agencies around the world. She will be greatly missed by the Almanac staff and readers.

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