February 13, 2019 image showing jet stream and precipitable water in the Pacific. An El Nino Advisory was issued by NOAA the following day. Jet stream patterns bring an atmospheric river into California from south of Hawai’i to north of Fiji. (Image: Earth Nullschool)
On February 14, 2019, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center issued an El Nino Advisory, stating that “weak El Nino conditions are present and are expected to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2019 (~55% chance)” and that, “due to the expected weak strength, widespread or significant global impacts are not anticipated.” However, despite the projection of a weak El Nino event, two significant related impacts are occurring and impacting emergency management and humanitarian operations.
Southern Africa: FAO El Nino Response Plan Appeal
The impacts in Southern Africa could be substantial, with the Food and Agricultural Organization launching a $67.9M USD appeal for an El Nino Response Plan to assist 4.9 million people for El Nino-exacerbated food insecurity issues. The eight nations of concern for food shocks and stessors are: Eswaitini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawai, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. According to the FAO, “the potential compounding effects of up to three consecutively poor
harvests in the most at-risk hots pots will be detrimental for agricultural-based
livelihoods and continue to drive down the production capacities of rural
households. This will exacerbate food insecurity and malnutrition, with ripple
effects that will be felt into 2020 and beyond.” Heavy and erratic rainfall patterns, as well as severe flooding has created agricultural stressors, including crop pests, livestock diseases, and delayed planting. [Image: FAO]
California: Atmospheric River with Record Precipitable Water and Flooding
A strong atmospheric river, often correlated to an El Nino pattern is strongly affecting Southern California, and is producing significant flooding.
— Steve Glazier (@SteveGlazier) February 14, 2019
An El Nino weather pattern has significant implications for projecting disaster declaration patterns in the coming months. Please stay tuned for further detailed BOA analysis.