El Niño's rains may unearth something gruesome in the LA mountains

Southern California is bracing for a wet winter. That alone is enough to incite fear in many Los Angeles residents.

But LA county officials are warning that there will likely another terrifying side effect of the coming torrential downpours: The water could unearth previously buried skeletal remains and floods could send them down the mountains.

This caution came after hunters and hikers in the Angeles National Forest found a skull, a spine, a pelvic bone, a femur, and a hand over Halloween weekend, the Los Angeles Times reports. Just a few weeks prior, a separate skull had been found about 100 miles east in Glendora Ridge, according to LAist.

Officials aren’t sure who these bones belong to, or what the cause of death was, but they estimate that an increase in rain will likely cause more skeletal remains to come washing down the hill.

This 1,000-mile-square-foot swath of forest, which sprawls just 50 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, and other ranges surrounding Los Angeles have been the site of many gruesome findings in the past. A hiker found a dead body in a canyon there in September, and dog walkers discovered a man’s head, two hands, and two feet in the Hollywood Hills in January 2012.

The forest has had a long history of being a receptacle for dead bodies, given the ideal set up for criminals.

“It is close to the Los Angeles metropolitan area, which gives access to somebody who needs to get rid of remains,” Gerry Biehn, a detective at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau told the Los Angeles Times in 1995. “It’s remote and there’s not a lot of people around, so it supplies the seclusion these people are looking for.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a 95% chance that the Northern Hemisphere will get slammed with El Niño rains this winter before tapering off in the spring. This weather phenomenon is a result of warmer-than-normal water temperatures brewing in the Pacific Ocean, which creates more moisture in the air, and hence more rain.

The region hasn’t been hit hard yet, though NOAA predicts that the real rains will begin in late fall and last through the winter.

And where’s there’s rain, there’s likely to be more ghastly remains.

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