Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 10th 2014 Contents A48
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, April 10, 2014
El Niño is a growing threat this
year that could play havoc with
weather patterns in the United
States, forecasters say.
El Niño, named for the warm
waters that occasionally occur in
the Pacific Ocean near South
America, brings fluctuating weath-
er that includes droughts, flooding
and heat waves.
"We have above-normal tem-
peratures in the tropical Pacific
Ocean and that often precedes an
El Niño because there s a large vol-
ume of above-average water tem-
perature below the surface of the
ocean," Anthony Barnston, chief
forecaster for the International
Research Institute for Climate and
Society, told ABC News. "Volume
often tends to come up to the sur-
face; often, but not always.
"That s the uncertainty," Barn-
ston said. "It s more likely to rise
than not." Some of the larger El
Niños in the past have resulted in
flooding and landslides in southern
and central California, he added.
Barnston notes a 70 per cent
probability of the United States
experiencing an El Niño this year.
He said the official outlook will be
coming today from the two agen-
cies---his research institute and the
Climate Prediction Center---and
will most likely give a slightly lower
probability of an El Niño event.
An El Niño affects the climate
in certain seasons around the
globe. Although they don t nec-
essarily mean drastic climate fluc-
tuations, they are fairly reliable
predictors, Barnston said.
If an El Niño persists, Barnston
said, it will develop between April
and June and last until the start
of the next calendar year for a
nine-to-10 month cycle.
storms dumped heavy rains across
the US Southeast on Monday and
caused flash flooding in central Ala-
bama, where crews in small boats and
military trucks had to rescue dozens
of people from their homes and cars.
In Mississippi, a 9-year-old girl was
swept away and killed after the storms
dropped nearly 7 inches of rain there
over the last two days. A possible tor-
nado in another part of the state dam-
aged homes and hurt seven people, and
in Georgia a motorist in metro Atlanta
was found dead after driving into a
creek swollen with rainwater.
Strong winds downed trees, power
lines and snarled rush hour commutes.
National Weather Service forecasters
in North Carolina say video indicates
a tornado touched down near the town
of Belhaven in the eastern part of the
state. Authorities say a pickup truck
was lifted off the highway, injuring a
man and his son.
In Pelham, just south of Birmingham,
more than 4 inches of rain fell from 7
pm Sunday to 7 am Monday. Police
and firefighters rescued people who
became trapped in flooded townhomes
and a mobile home park.
Dozens of cars had water up to their
roofs. Rescue workers wearing life jack-
ets waded through muddy water nearly
to their chests to reach stranded res-
idents. Hundreds of people in mobile
homes on higher ground were isolated
because water covered the only entrance
to the complex.
Pelham Fire Battalion Chief Mike
Knight said people realised at daybreak
that the water, 7 feet deep in some
places, was surrounding their homes.
Some people had to abandon cars after
driving into areas where the flood water
was deeper than expected.
A development of townhomes along
a creek in Pelham also flooded, with
some units getting four to five feet (1.2
to 1.5 metres) of water. Some residents
went to their second floors to wait for
the water to recede, while others evac-
Shannon Martin said she had water
up to the top of her toilet bowl in her
first floor. She and a friend waded
through flooded streets to get inside
and floated out some of her belongings
in a cooler.
At an apartment complex in the sub-
urb of Homewood, rescue crews used
a boat to help several residents and pets
get out of flooded first-floor units.
Mudslides toppled trees and blocked
Some roads in Birmingham became
impassable due to flood waters and
fallen trees, and schools delayed opening
in many areas of central Alabama due
to the heavy rains. (AP)
El Niño warming up to be a mighty one?
Storms sock US
Southeast, killing 2
Damian Barnes' mobile home was thrown 20 feet and destroyed during a
tornado that struck the area Monday near Collins, Mississippi. Barnes along with
his girlfriend and two children were asleep when the tornado destroyed it leaving
Barnes injured and having to pull the others from the wreckage. AP PHOTOS
Firefighters rescue a family from their home, surrounded by floodwaters, in a
mobile home park in Pelham, Alabama, on Monday.
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