It’s going to be the coldest winter in over a century…..according to news sources recently. We’ve heard that before many a time, just like every year it is going to be the hottest summer since records began, how often does that materialise? But why do the experts think that this this winter is going to be so cold? Something called ‘El Niño’ Spanish for Christ Child, because an El Niño normally begins around the Christmas season. This El Niño is going to be the strongest for a century and is going to unleash untold misery to all.  

What is an El Niño?

An El Niño is when prevailing winds which circulate over the tropical pacific weaken. This warms the water around the Equatorial Pacific above the usual level. This disrupts climate patterns around the world. Most obviously South West America and Northern Australia. For example California will have a wetter winter, good news as they have had a drought for several years now and are in much need of some rainfall. And Australia is likely to go through a drought. Closer to home on the other hand, Northern Europe will likely be hit with a cold dry winter and Southern Europe will be milder but wetter.

 El Nino gathering size 

What can this do to us?

What are the consequences of this unusual weather on us? Aside from the risk of increased flooding in certain regions and droughts in others. We can also expect that there will be an increased risk of some diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. The shift in weather can have an adverse affect on crop patterns, increase in energy consumption, all possibly leading to crisis.

How Can We Prepare?

So, if it is going to be the coldest winter in forever how can you prepare?

  • If you take medication on a regular basis you should make sure that you have enough if you are unable to get to the pharmacy.
  • Try and make your home more energy efficient and insulate areas where you can.
  • Make sure you have enough batteries, candles and torches in case of power cuts.
  • You will also require enough food supplies for you and your family, including any pets which you might have.
  • If you have elderly neighbours or family make sure you check in on the on a regular basis to ensure that they’re comfortable.
  • Maintain your radiators and other heating equipment like chimneys.
  • Learn how to shut off your water (incase a pipe bursts)
  • Clear all your gutters
  • Repair any leaks which you may have.
For further advice head to the Met Office Website which is full of useful information. 

 

After all this though, there’s a good chance that it will just be the hottest winter ever.

 

A recent artlcle (21st September 2015) in The Guardian explains how deverstating an El Niño can be, better than we can!