Tornadoes? Snow? Weather chaos? Don't blame La Niña, meteorologist says
(CNN) -- It's been a chaotic and deadly January. Already:
Some have been quick to blame La Niña, the cold-hearted sister of El Niño.
But not so fast, says E. O'Lenic of the National Weather Service.
He says that La Niña'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.
"If we look at past La Niñas and El Niños, 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 Niña event doesn't mean there's a connection.
"It was unusual, but it wasn't attributable to La Niña," O'Lenic said.
And now, shirtsleeve weather in January. If we can't blame La Niña, maybe another Spanish phrase will do: "Clima Loco" -- crazy weather.
Damaging winds in West
NOAA La Niña Website
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