La Nina Pattern Causes Several Weather Disasters

If you read this blog, you know that La Nina is the abnormal cooling of the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.  It causes weather patterns to shift all over the world.  Most folks are more familiar with El Nino, which is the exact opposite of La Nina.  El Nino does cause storm tracks to shift too, so it is plausible to think that these shifting weather patterns could create problems.  Well, if anyone tells you that La Nina doesn't cause nearly the weather mayhem that El Nino does, they obviously have been living under a rock for the past year.  Here are the top 5 weather disasters that have occurred in the last 9 months:

1.  Record Drought and Wildfires:  Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas have been hit hard by the drought and amazing wildfires.  In Texas, the total acreage lost to fire is in the millions.  Crop losses, livestsock deaths, you name it...

2.  Record Rockies Snow:  The mountains of northern Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana saw record snow in the winter of 2010-11.  While Colorado Springs picked up just 12.7" for the entire winter, mountain areas measured the snow by the meter.  The Northern Plains also saw a lot of snow.  The melting of this record snowpack is now contributing to massive flooding on the Missouri River.

3.  Flooding Spring Rains:  The Mississippi River Valley saw extremely heavy rain during the months of March and April.  This caused all time record flooding along the MS River.  This flooding threatened many towns and cities along the river, with areas near Memphis and southward impacted the most. 

4.  Terrible Tornado Outbreaks:  The month of April is a month that will never be forgotten.  Several tornado outbreaks impacted areas from the Southern Plains to the Carolinas.  Many of these tornadoes were EF-3 or stronger, with a handful of EF-5s reported between April 14th-16th, and again from April 26th-28th.  An amazing 875 tornadoes were reported to have touched down during April, making it the most tornadic month EVER!  Notable violent tornadoes hit Tuscaloosa, Jackson, Raleigh, and St. Louis.  I still can't believe what happened in April...

5.  Joplin, Missouri EF-5 Tornado:  This monster destroyed much of Joplin on May 22nd.  Wind speeds over 250 mph occurred with this tornado, and it was over a mile wide while it was shredding Joplin.  This tornado was responsible for 141 deaths, making it the 8th deadliest tornado on record and the deadliest tornado since 1950.   From 2000 to 2010, 650 people lost their lives do to tornadoes.  In the last 4 months, 520 people have lost their lives do to tornadoes.  2011 will forever be known as the year of the "metro tornado", meaning many tornadoes threatened or destroyed major towns and cities.  When violent tornadoes strike metro areas, deaths occur.  It is that simple...

I didn't even include the record snow in The Northeast.  The winter of 2010 and 2011 was a winter that many folks didn't think would end.  It got started in October and lasted into March...

ALL of this bad weather was brough on by the strong La Nina and the stubborn storm tracks that it produced.  If you look back through history, similar weather is associated whenever we do have a strong La Nina.  Droughts in 2005-06, 08-09, major tornado outbreaks in 2004 and 2008, and I am just recalling the recent years.  All through history this type of stuff has occurred. 

After the past few months, let's just hope that this hurricane season is a quiet one...

Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe


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