El Niño is expected to bring much-awaited rainfall to drought-stricken California, and authorities have warned locals that some areas may even experience dangerous flooding.
The recurrent phenomenon, which appears due to an unusual warming of a portion of water in the central and east-central parts of the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is believed to be one of the most severe in recent decades.
Meteorologists from the National Weather Service (NWS) have predicted that across the Golden State there will be strong winds, coupled with heavy precipitation, in the form of either snow and rain, based on local elevation.
There will also be several thunderstorms throughout the entire week, and according to forecasts this inclement weather will persist up until the middle of the month, and possibly even beyond that point.
Overall, as explained by Johnny Powell, a NWS expert based in Sacramento, up to 15 inches of rainfall will soak the northern part of California during the following 16 days. Moreover, at the highest altitudes of the Sierra Nevada mountains there will be snowpacks measuring around 2 feet.
Meanwhile, throughout the southern portion of the state, excessive rain across Los Angeles County might pose a danger to local communities, especially to homeless dwellers based along the Los Angeles River.
The storms have also been predicted to displace large masses of mud and debris, particularly in regions which had already been devastated by wildland fires.
As a result, residents have been urged to make sure they have enough sandbags, in order to combat flooding throughout their homes.
They have also been advised to thoroughly clean gutters, to assemble a disasters supplies kit, and to keep themselves constantly informed regarding the weather, so as not to be caught unaware by rapid and devastating changes.
Although all the phenomena that have been forecast are definitely unsettling, William Patzert, research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, believes that precipitation will actually represent a welcome change after around 4 years of drought.
The severe lack of rain had even prompted Governor Jerry Brown to implement water conservation measures, demanding a reduction of 25% in drinking water use, so as to lower pressure placed on the severely depleted water supply. Now it appears that these rapidly dwindling reserves will be replenished, in just a matter of days.
It’s actually not surprising that El Niño has triggered such changes in weather patterns: events of this kind occurring between 1982 and 1983, as well as between 1997 and 1998 have also doubled the amount of rainfall, which eventually resulted in high breaking waves, flooding and mudflows.
This year’s El Niño isn’t expected to be any different, especially since it has already wreaked havoc across the country, bringing heavy amounts of snowfall along the West Coast, while causing deadly tornadoes in Texas, calamitous floods in the Midwest and fearsome storms in Mississippi.
Aside from these extremely vicious phenomena, El Niño has also resulted in excessively high temperatures, the most severely affected being the Northern Great Plains, as well as the Eastern United States.
Image Source: On The Snow