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California get ready, El Nino will be conveyor belt of storms

"California water system" by Shannon1 - Own work, background from DEMIS Mapserver, public domain source. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

“California water system” by Shannon1 – Own work, background from DEMIS Mapserver, public domain source. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

It’s official. El Nino is here, and it continues to grow in strength, promising to be one of the biggest in 65 years. I lived in L.A. during the very powerful 1982-83 and 1997-98 El Ninos. It is indeed awe-inspiring. Big massive storms cannonballed into Los Angeles one after another. Projections for 2015-16 say southern California will get deluged, which is good. However that’s not where major water storage is. To really replenish a parched state, the storms need to dump large amounts of snow in northern California and the Sierras. Let’s hope it does. Southern California gets much of its water from canals starting in the Sacramento Delta. The Delta is fed by the Sierras. (It also gets water from the Colorado River, as you can see from the somewhat bewildering canal map.) The forecast also looks wet for Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona.

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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