The big weather news of 1998 was certainly El Niño. Every major storm that hit the coasts of North America that year was explained away with two words--El Niño
By the fall of 1957, the coral ring of Canton Island, in the memory of man ever bleak and dry, was lush with the seedlings of countless tropical trees and vines.
One is inclined to select the events of this isolated atoll as epitomizing the year, for even here, on the remote edges of the Pacific, vast concerted shifts in the oceans and atmosphere had wrought dramatic change.
Elsewhere about the Pacific it also was common knowldge that the year had been one of extraordinary climatic events. Hawaii had its first recorded Typhoon; the seabird-killing El Niño visited the Peruvian coast; the ice went out of Point Barrow at the earliest time in history; and on the Pacific's western rim, the tropical rainy season lingered six weeks beyond its appointed term - Sette and Isaacs (1960).