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Winterizing matters in warm climate areas too

By Marcelle Dibrell

Get ready for bumpy ride: experts are predicting a roller coaster of a winter this year. According to weather and climate experts, El Nino is coming, with rain predicted to finally slake California’s thirst, and severe weather is expected for the southern portion of the U.S.

Of course, they have been saying that for years now, haven’t they?

El Nino has been making headlines in the weather communities for over two years. Early forecasts from the spring of 2014 hinted that a major El Nino event would hit the following winter. Hopeful Californians desperately clung to such headlines but as the nation is acutely aware, the predictions failed to come to fruition.

But that’s not really the whole story, is it?

El Nino did start to form at the tail end of 2014 and continued to develop into the spring of 2015. It is what caused the record-setting rainfall in Texas and other areas in the South.  

The fact that California failed see the action is largely the fault of what climatologists are calling the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge,” a high pressure zone in the Pacific Ocean that effectively diverted most precipitation far to the north.

It appears that this year may just be different.

Late this July, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a weather status and predictions report with the definitive statement: El Nino conditions are present.

In fact, according to NOAA, “there is a greater than 90 percent chance that El Nino will continue through Northern Hemisphere Winter 2015-16, and around an 80 percent chance it will last through early spring 2016.”

And that’s not all: Every one ofNOAA’s models are predicting a “strong” El Nino. In fact, the Multivariate ENSO Index, which measures the overall strength of an El Nino, just hit its highest value since the 1997-98 El Nino, and it’s not done strengthening yet.   

That’s information that is sure to raise the eyebrows of those among us who
remember the El Nino of 1998 and the winter that brought so much rain, flooding,
and landslides.

The El Nino of ’98 sent houses sliding off cliffs, put neighborhoods underwater, and closed major roads for months. 

Severe weather events included flooding in the Southeast and California, an ice storm in the Northeast, and tornadoes in Florida.

The El Nino of ’98 was the last time we had a “strong” El Nino, and experts are saying that a very strong El Nino event is highly likely this winter.  

So what should we expect?

In the Northern Hemisphere, the strength of an El Nino’s effect usually peaks during the winter months, and usually brings higher-than-average snowfall to the Southern third of the U.S. That means that Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and sometimes Utah and Colorado can usually expect to see increased precipitation or snowfall. In fact, increased precipitation and colder temperatures are predicted for the entire southern United States. Meanwhile, the northern third of the U.S. usually sees warmer temperatures and less snowfall.   

What difference does this make for pool service professionals?

Service technicians in the colder climates of the country are well used to winterizing their customers’ swimming pools come the fall months when temperatures start to drop. For them, it’s a matter of necessity.

For service professionals in the southern states, winterizing pools is sometimes a matter of preference. Drain the plumbing and store the pump, or just run the circulation system when it gets a little chilly?

This year, the smart money may just be on winterizing the pool. In this issue of Service Industry News, we provide the APSP’s complete instructions on the steps and equipment needed to ready a swimming pool for severe weather.   

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