ad info
   personal technology

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

CNN Websites
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines

 message boards




A January 21 tornado near Little Rock, Arkansas
CNN's Rick Lockridge reports on the wacky January weather
Real 28K 80K
Windows Media 28K 80K

Ed O'Lenic of the National Weather Service explains weather patterns
Real 28K 80K
Windows Media 28K 80K
Tomorrow Today
  • Related video
  • Related audio
  • Related sites
  • Next week
  • Tornadoes? Snow? Weather chaos? Don't blame La Nina, meteorologist says

    (CNN) -- It's been a chaotic and deadly January. Already:

  • Out-of-season twisters terrorized the American South.
  • Buffalo, New York, saw 6 feet of snow in the first two weeks of 1999.
  • A record snowstorm in Chicago dumped 18 inches in a weekend.

    Some have been quick to blame La Nina, the cold-hearted sister of El Nino.

    But not so fast, says E. O'Lenic of the National Weather Service.

    He says that La Nina's cooling effect on the Pacific Ocean does play a role in the movement of large air masses and can therefore affect a particular region's climate for weeks or months.

    But O'Lenic says it doesn't act on a small enough scale to cause individual storms.

    Massive January snow accumulation in Buffalo, New York   

    "If we look at past La Ninas and El Ninos, severe weather doesn't favor either one," O'Lenic said. "It actually seems to occur in the normal years in-between."

    That explanation is not likely to satisfy those who have suffered through this winter's many extremes.

    But O'Lenic says violent weather will happen when it happens, and just because a hundred tornadoes hit the South in the middle of a La Nina event doesn't mean there's a connection.

    "It was unusual, but it wasn't attributable to La Nina," O'Lenic said.

    And now, shirtsleeve weather in January. If we can't blame La Nina, maybe another Spanish phrase will do: "Clima Loco" -- crazy weather.

    Damaging winds in West
    February 3, 1999
    Storm leaves East Coast as front pushes into Plains
    February 3, 1999
    Hundreds homeless in Fiji after flash floods
    January 20, 1999
    Gore heads home to console tornado victims
    January 18, 1999

    NOAA La Nina Website
    The Weather Channel - Encyclop¾dia Britannica - Tornadoes
    Overview of Climate Change Issues in Asia and the Pacific
    National Weather Service
    FEMA - Fact Sheet - TORNADOES
    The Tornado Project Online!
    Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
    External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

    Enter keyword(s)   go    help

  • Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
    Terms under which this service is provided to you.
    Read our privacy guidelines.