Correa says that El Niño will not be as strong as 1998-1999 but says that it will still cause serious coastal damage; says Cotopaxi threat will continue for years
President Rafael Correa said Saturday that the latest evidence suggests that the incoming El Niño will not be as strong as the devastating 1997-1998 El Niño.
Speaking during his national Sabatina, Correa said that data shows that the weather phenomenon of elevated water temperatures near the surface of the Pacific Ocean has weakened slightly in recent weeks. “It had been predicted that it would be stronger than the 1997-1998 El Niño but it now appears that it is losing some strength, which is good news for people on the coast,” Correa said.
The 1997-1998 El Niño caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to the coastline, isolating some communities for months.
“It will still be moderate to strong so we cannot let down our guard,” Correa said. “But it is certainly good news that it will be a little weaker than we had expected.”
Early effects of El Niño are already being felt, with higher than average rainfall and more cloud cover. Esmeraldas Province has been hardest hit and has experienced some tidal flooding. According to scientists, the most intense effects will not be felt until late January or early February. They say effects of it will be felt in the Galapagos next month.