National Geographic : 1984 Jun
the qualities most of the world admires in Americans. William M. Kunkle Eugene, Oregon Oh, what a wonderful story on Trans-Pecos, Texas, by Griffin Smith, Jr., and Dan Dry! It read like a novel that should be made into a movie. Fascinating, interesting, nostalgic wonderful descriptions of folks and towns and quiet living. Mrs. Jack Nover Huntington Woods, Michigan El Niio Although El Niflo (February 1984) has reshaped the earth with erosion and rain, it certainly hasn't washed the city of Portland from the banks of the Willamette to the shores of the Pacific. To imag ine barracudas prowling off Portland would be the equivalent of wahoos wallowing off Walla Walla, since both cities are a considerable dis tance from the nearest salt water. Oregon, along with a record-breaking rainfall for 1983, felt the ocean-warming effects of El Nifio strongly. Marine harvests were the worst in years, and agricultural products also suffered, resulting in loss of income and outward migra tion. Economically, Oregon will recover from El Nifio. Geographically, it will be more difficult to return the city of Portland to its original site. George D. Furness Gresham, Oregon Barracudasprowled that far north, but not in land. Our apologies;we did not intend to move Portlandto the sea, like its counterpartin Maine. In his interesting and otherwise accurate article, the author completely forgot to mention an area that suffered damages and losses at least equal but probably worse than those sustained in other areas mentioned. In southern Brazil alone, more than 400,000 people were left homeless in July. Most crops, thousands of businesses and fac tories, roads and bridges, even whole cities were devastated. The immediate cause: El Nifio af fected a jet stream that crossed Brazil and pre vented the cold fronts that normally move in from Patagonia to proceed on their normal path to the north. Thus the fronts discharged their rain loads over southern Brazil, where it contin ued to rain until the next cold front arrived with even more rain. It rained for six months! Roberto E. Leyendecker Santa Catarina, Brazil Recent data, analyzed afterwe went to press, sug gest thatnot only the extensive rains but also the very dry conditions of 1982-83 in northeastBra zil may have been caused by El Nino.