Record-tying El Niño Spawns String Of Storms In California

Record-tying El Niño Spawns String Of Storms In California
Storm Clouds Gathering Zooey / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

A string of storms in the Pacific is threatening to affect the West.


On Tuesday, storms brought along as much as 1.42 inches of rain at the Los Angeles International Airport. Over the last 24 hours, Santa Monica received 1.5 inches and Malibu got 1.76 inches of rain, the National Weather Service said. California could be issued a flash flood watch as two storms, forecasted for Wednesday and Thursday, could cause 3 inches of rain.

According to NBC Los Angeles, mudslide fears caused the Silverado Canyon area of Orange County to be placed under voluntary evacuation order.

The water shortage in California, caused by four years of drought, will require a “steady parade of storms” like the current one, Mike Anderson, climatologist for the state’s Department of Water Resources, said. “We’re at least on a good trajectory. We’ve got to keep it going,” he said.

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The El Niño has tied with the strongest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. In 1997 and 1998, when the strongest El Niño weather system was recorded, 17 people were killed in addition to several crops that were damaged and highways washed out.

As reported by ABC News, Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground, said, “DarthNino may finally have California in its sights. A parade of strong Pacific storms characteristic of a strong El Niño event will batter the state this week and will likely bring damaging flooding by the time the second storm in the series rolls through on Wednesday.”

The El Niño is forecasted to strike California and other parts of the country in the next weeks and months, although it has reached its peak. Northern California could witness as much as 15 inches of rainfall in the next 16 days. The highest points of Sierra Nevada could receive 2 inches of snow, according to National Weather Service.

Meanwhile, in the southern part of the state, flash floods are expected to strike areas that were affected by wildfires last summer and fall. The wet conditions could spawn mudslides in these areas. Residents in the Silverado Canyon burn area in Orange County and the Solimar burn area in Ventura County were told to prepare themselves “before a weather event happens.”

“But there is still time to prepare at least a basic emergency kit for your home, your car or your place of work,” Brad Alexander, spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said.

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