After months of warning, the first major storm of this year’s highly-anticipated monster El Niño began hammering the West Coast on Sunday. The storm brought a torrential downpour of rain that continued to grow stronger through Tuesday.
El Niño is a global climate phenomenon driven by warming temperatures in the Pacific ocean, particularly along the equator. The conditions come and go every few years, but do not follow a regular pattern.
On Tuesday, the El Niño storm set record rainfalls for that day in various areas across California including the Los Angeles International Airport and places north of Stockton and Redding, the LA Times reported. This poor guy got caught in the middle of it:
Luckily, as of Wednesday, no Los Angeles roads have been closed, despite flooding on several roadways and a small rock slide that damaged four vehicles along the Pacific Coast Highway. That’s thanks to the preparation efforts of city officials.
“We have been working for months on this,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told the LA Times. “Today is the day that it is here.”
Right now, most of the rain is slamming the south-western coast of California, as revealed in the map below of the country’s next 24-hour precipitation.
California is clearly the wettest region in the country right now where some areas can expect as much as 3 to 4 more inches by this time tomorrow:
And the rain isn’t expected to let up any time soon. LA should see a sunny break by Friday, but the relief will be short-lived. Another wave of precipitation is anticipated to hit the city on Saturday.
But heavy rains and flooding are just the beginning for what El Niño has in store for us. Meteorologists anticipate that El Niño conditions will help bring in another warm year, which could become the hottest on record.
Moreover, El Niño generally brings more tropical storms and hurricanes to the eastern Pacific. And with evidence showing that climate change is increasing the intensity of these types of storms, we can expect nastier things than floods and rock slides in the coming months.
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