Blame El Nino for Ariz., Calif. weather

Jan. 21, 2010 at 12:19 PM
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NORMAN, Okla., Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Heavy snow and rain falling in Arizona Thursday and flooding and mudslides that battered Southern California are a result of El Nino, meteorologists say.

The periodic climate pattern that affects the location of the jet stream, altering rainfall patterns across the West, Midwest and Southeast, appears responsible for the severe storms battering Arizona and California, National Weather Service meteorologist Greg Carbin said.

"The intensity of the mid-level and upper-level winds has been quite dramatic," Carbin told the Christian Science Monitor.

El Nino may also be responsible for an unimpressive amount of snowfall for the Winter Olympic Games set for Vancouver, British Columbia, Feb. 12–28, meteorologists say.

They also blame the warming of Pacific waters for the relocation of San Francisco's famous sea lions from their Pier 39 home to colder waters along the Oregon coast.

El Nino -- officially known as El Nino-Southern Oscillation -- is associated with floods, droughts and other weather disturbances in many regions of the world.

In North America, central and southern California, northwest Mexico and the southwestern U.S. states become significantly wetter, while the northern Gulf of Mexico states and Southeast states are typically wetter and cooler than average.

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