Mudslides, High Waves In California Coast Caused By Record-Tying El Nino 2016

Mudslides, High Waves In California Coast Caused By Record-Tying El Nino 2016
Storm Clouds H. Michael Miley / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
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This year’s record-tying El Nino 2016 brought a series of storms that caused high waves to impact the central California coast Thursday.


Highway 140, below the Arch Rock entrance to the Yosemite National Park, was closed due to a rock slide, reports. The slide occurred at around 5:45 a.m. Thursday in the area of the 2014 Dog Rock Fire, causing the closure of the park from its boundary in El Portal to the junction of El Portal Road/Big Oak Flat Road (Highways 140/120).

Scott Gediman, with Yosemite National Park, said the slide occurred due to a boulder that fell in the area. While the road will remain closed for at least the rest of the day, it has not been determined when it will reopen.

“Over the last few days, it’s been high, but I think we’re going to see our highest surf over the next couple of days,” Emily Thornton, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said, as reported by NBC News.

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It was the third day of storms brought by the El Nino 2016 in the Pacific; as a result of which, California experienced showers and thunderstorms. On Wednesday, storms caused the roads to be flooded, and mudslides in parts of the state caused by wildfires and drought. “There’s not much vegetation left up there because of the drought and stuff, so it’s like a slip-and-slide,” Tony Lewellen said. “It just runs down the mountain.” Mud had entered Lewellen’s family’s house in Rancho San Diego.

The roads within Yosemite Valley remain open, though with chain restrictions. Wawona Road (Highway 41) and Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120 west) are open with the same restrictions.

While conditions will begin getting better, giving the state a chance to start drying, by Friday, light rain is expected for Saturday.

In 1997 and 1998, when an equally strong El Nino 2016 was recorded, California and Peru experienced record rainfall. Heat waves had struck Australia and Indonesia experienced fires. Dale Eck, director of the Global Forecast Center at the Weather Channel, said that all El Ninos are not the same. “What we have seen this year so far has not been what you would call the classic weather pattern with a strong El Niño,” he said. “They’re not getting 10 to 15 inches of rain. We’re now seeing a series of storms that are dumping 1 to 3 inches in California.”

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