The strong El Niño in the Pacific Ocean is becoming even more powerful, setting the stage for an unusually wet winter in California that could bring heavy rains by January, climate experts said.
The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center said El Niño is already strong and mature, and is forecast to continue gaining strength. This El Niño is expected to be among the three strongest on record since 1950.
“It’s official. El Niño’s here. It’s a done deal,” said Bill Patzert, climatologist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. “So at this point, we’re just waiting for the impacts in California.”
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Generally, El Niño doesn’t peak in California until January, February and March, Patzert said. That’s when Californians should expect “mudslides, heavy rainfall, one storm after another like a conveyor belt.”
“January and February are just around the corner. If you think you should make preparations, get off the couch and do it now. These storms are imminent,” he said. “El Niño is here. And it is huge.”
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