Vulnerable populations must be identified before a big El Niño hits <i>(Image: Reuters/Daniel Munoz)</i>Wild weather is coming in 2014, with floods, storms and droughts expected around the Pacific, but little is being done to protect the people on the front line THE weather is preparing to go wild, and will wreak havoc and death around the globe later this year. An El Niño, a splurge of warm water in the Pacific Ocean, is coming. It will unleash floods in the Americas, while South-East Asia and Australia face drought. Yet little is being done to address these consequences. “The tropical climate system is primed for a big El Niño,” says Axel Timmermann of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu (see diagram). An El Niño begins when warm water near Indonesia spreads eastwards and rises to the surface of the Pacific. The warm water carries rain with it, so El Niño takes rain from Asia and Australia and dumps it on the Americas (see “Rising waters“). The effects can be deadly. A big El Niño in 1997-98 killed 20,000 people and caused almost $97 billion of damage. More