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El Nino now ginormous, will drench key California drought zone

El Nino rainfall 1998. L.A.

The current El Nino may be stronger than in 1997-1998

The current El Nino is still building and is on track to be bigger than the previous biggest El Nino that hit California in 1998. There is no no chance it will fail and it’s increasingly looking like crucial northern California will get some hefty rains (and southern California will get drenched.)

There are better odds that the area around Lake Oroville, California’s second-largest reservoir, will have above-normal precipitation — now more than a 40% chance, up from a more than 33% chance in last month’s forecast. San Francisco now has more than a 50% shot of a wetter-than-average winter, up from a more than 40% probability.

That winter [1998], 17 people died in California, and more than half a billion dollars’ worth of damage occurred. Flood-control channels overflowed, mudslides destroyed hillside homes and roads, and railroad tracks were washed away.

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