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La Niῆa has arrived, are you prepared?

La Niῆa – Abnormally cold weather La Niῆa – Abnormally cold weather

The analysis of the 2009-2010 winter ended with fairly average figures for North America. This coming winter is said to differ sharply; chances are we'll have more snow this year than last. Our winter prediction for the year 2010-2011 focuses on La Niῆa. La Niῆa is the counterpart of El Niῆo. The latter means "the child," in Spanish, while the former translates as "the girl." In simple words, while "the child" indicated warm ocean currents, La Niῆa is a condition where abnormally cold water in the Pacific Ocean influences our storm track. The weather forecast for this month includes a quickly weakened El Niῆo and a quick switch to La Niῆa. Occurring every two to five years, La Niῆa is an integral part of the ocean-atmosphere phenomenon. Our last encounter with La Niῆa was in 2007 when we had over a hundred inches of snow, the second-highest total ever for the Midwest.

This winter’s seasonal forecast is based heavily on La Niῆa, which is predicted to last until the spring season of the year 2011; according to most experts, it is going to bring abnormally cold weather. The National Weather Service Office forecasts show that during the phase of La Niῆa the ocean surface temperatures across the Eastern Central Pacific Ocean will decline by three to five degrees Celsius. Other experts claim that global warming will counteract these effects, and that this coming winter isn't going to be that cold, after all. However, it never hurts to be prepared.

Safety measures for drivers

Ensure your vehicles are well maintained for the winter, because chilling weather conditions can make driving dangerous and quite challenging. Inspect your vehicle before you get on the road. The Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) Administrator, Craig Fugate said, "With winter right around the corner, it's never too early to start preparing for snowstorms, icy roads, and other types of severe weather. Whether you live in an area that is used to severe winters or not, there are three simple steps all Americans should take to get ready: put together an emergency supply kit, develop a family communications plan, and stay informed about the risks and emergencies in your community."

Remember, your vehicle must have electronic stability control, good ground clearance, low center of gravity, many cold-weather amenities and enhanced safety features. Electronic stability control will help reduce rollover risk by 80% or more. Ensure your car has reliable winter tires and those who live in the Snow Belt should have snow tires. If you’ll be frequently encountering 10 inches of snow, then all-wheel drive is the right choice. For four inches or less snow, your best option is a front-wheel-drive vehicle with snow tires, which will save your money on fuel.

Another challenge drivers have to face in winter is vision; both seen and being seen is very crucial. You must remain relaxed and alert while driving in the winter season. You can purchase vehicles that come with heated mirrors, heated steering wheels, headlight washers, heated washer nozzles and heated windshields. Vigilance is the key to safe driving!

An effective management plan during severe winter conditions--even disasters--depends largely on realistic measures of action in order to cope with emergencies. Be sure to tune into media advisories that spread proper awareness of local safety measures to face the challenges La Niῆa might bring!

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Video description: BBC weather report on La Niῆa in 2008.
Last modified on Wednesday, 03 November 2010 18:07

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