Peter Parksafp

Most severe El Nino in history may be on way to our region

CLIMATOLOGISTS are predicting this summer's El Nino could be the most severe the Northern Rivers has ever seen.

El Nino occurs every few years, when the ocean surface temperature in the eastern tropical Pacific becomes much warmer than average, influencing global weather patterns.

Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Agata Imielska said the Northern Rivers will experience warmer temperatures and less rainfall than usual.

Ms Imielska said people on the land across the region should be preparing for a hot dry summer.

"The strength of the event actually isn't an indicator of how bad the impact is going to be as we saw in 1997-1998," she said.

The last big El Nino in 1997-98 caused humanitarian disasters in many countries, including major forest fires in Indonesia and severe drought throughout many Pacific Island countries.