An unstoppable force... an immovable object... they collide in a really played out cliché. But seriously, what the hell happens when an already frightening weather pattern, El Niño, mashes with another ominous force called, "The Blob"?
Well, forecasters sounded the alarm on what could be a beast of an El Niño, but now, some are wondering what'll happen when the equator's warm sea surface temperatures collide with a different long stretch of warm water off the West Coast, dubbed "the Blob." While some are hopeful the combination will result in much-needed rains in the drought stricken region, other experts are unsure how the two phenomena will interact, according to a report by USA Today.
"We've had very few cases in the past when we had both of these things going on at the same time," Kelly Redmond, deputy director of the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, told the paper. "They could accentuate each other or subtract from each other. They could multiply each other or they might cancel each other. The jury is out." Nothing like the uncertainty of either severe flooding or continued devastating drought conditions, right?
In terms of the El Niño part of the equation, a recent image released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed Pacific Ocean sea temperatures in July already surpassing the temperatures measured in November 1997 during the last monster El Niño, which alone could mean big-time precipitation this winter. Similarly, “the Blob” is a 2,000 mile-long patch of warm water that has formed along the West Coast, thanks to the same ridge of high pressure that has contributed to dry coastal conditions.
A showdown between El Niño and "the Blob" could bring about three scenarios, according to a report by KPCC. First, El Niño could sweep in and dominate "the Blob" and the associated high pressure system, resulting in than much-needed rain. There's also a chance that "the Blob" will fight off the big, wet El Niño and even deflect some of the rains away from northern parts of California and the West Coast. Or, the two might team up, with "the Blob" further fueling El Niño's potentially flooding rainfall. So, uh, start building your arks now?
KPCC made a video illustrating the battle between "the Blob" and El Niño: Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and is considering getting into the umbrella business. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.