Nov 10, 2015

Extreme El Niño: Drought-Stricken California in the Crosshairs of Wild Weather

Los Angeles, CA
USA
by
Erik Oritz
,
NBC News
A Looming Monster El Niño Has California on Edge. Image: NBC
A Looming Monster El Niño Has California on Edge. Image: NBC

After four years of a historic drought that has ravaged virtually every corner of California, this winter could usher in a new challenge: A series of storms with rains so heavy and so punishing that mudslides and flooding would be the norm, forecasters warn..."It's going to be a mess ... when these great rains come. There's nothing to hold the water and we are expecting debris, mud, water to come pouring out of the mountains," [NASA climatologist Bill Patzert] warned. Normally, vegetation helps soil to cling to hillsides, but after a fire burns it off, the dry land is barren and susceptible to major mud flows because of heavy El Niño rains.