While particulars of El Niño effects are difficult to
predict, the general effects which might change
the weather during a visit to Baja California appear to be well
The basic rule seems to be that the warmer Pacific currents tend
to produce warmer air and water temperatures, and more moisture.
This rule translates into differing effects in the southern and
northern halves of the peninsula, according to the general
patterns discussed above.
As an example, during the 1997 hurricane season, there were a
"normal" number of hurricanes, but one of these was a
record-setter, and another was a real "killer".
Hurricane Linda was the strongest hurricane that has been
recorded in NE Pacific waters - wind gusts peaked at over
200MPH! Hurricane Pauline was so "loaded with moisture" that
extensive damage and loss of life occurred in Acapulco from
flooding and mudslides.
It takes ocean waters of 82°(F) or more to sustain a
hurricane. Since the warmer waters reached much further north,
hurricanes tended to move to higher latitudes than normal.
Hurricane Linda was predicted to head into Southern California
at one point - with an expected land fall near Santa Barbara.
So the exaggeration of effects brought on by El Niño can
also move the general weather patterns of Baja California
further north in the summer, and further south in the winter.
The water temperatures in the Sea of Cortez went as high as
90°(F), and many of the far-ranging fish migrated far to the
north, especially on the Pacific side.
The effects of El Niño produced both bad results
(Hurricane Pauline) and good results (rebuilt water tables and
turned the peninsula into a garden). The same should be true in
the more northern areas during the winter months,
if El Niño produces major weather changes.
Keep in mind the fact that, in the northern areas,
the winter storms will not be of hurricane strength.
Here is a link to a current temperature image for the waters
surrounding Baja California. If you become aware of other
sites which also provide useful information, please forward the
web addresses to me at: email@example.com
Before taking the El Niño effects too seriously, remember
one person's El Niño is another person's cute little grandchild!
(Thanks to Murdoch Hughes for this observation.)