El Niño: Perceptions vs. Reality

FOX 11 Photographer Gary Brainard and I have been working together on many of the El Niño stories we’ve done and we’ve come to an interesting conclusion. It seems to us there are people who think El Niño will come, hit and go away like other weather systems. It’s why people in low or moderate flood risk zones may not think flooding might be a problem for them. It may be why there are people who says things like "it’s all over sensationalized" as homeowner Erika Zoeller told us this week.

Simply, El Niño is a warming in the ocean that can create a lot of rain here in Southern California. The best minds suggest it will likely take the form of many storms moving through our area one after another. Repeated rains of an inch or inch and a half can trigger big problems as we've seen from El Niños in the past.

Neither Gary or I have meteorological training, but we are coming to learn that in the case of each and every agency we’ve come in contact with they are taking the threat of an extra wet rainy season very seriously. They say things like, "we're planning for the worst and hoping for the best!" 

Whether it’s swift water rescue teams, government agencies or police and fire departments the general feeling is if the National Weather Service is predicting a 95% chance of impact from El Niño we should listen.

Forecasters are saying this El Niño will be strong.

In his blog, Eric Boldt at NOAA offers these tips:

  • Winter storms could be capable of multiple  impacts
  • There could be coastal erosion, large wave action, rip currents
  • Flooding concerns when 2-3 storms occur in-a-row, reaching saturation
  • Debris flows near recent burn areas during intense downpours
  • Follow NWS on social media and web
  • Stay aware and listen to local media on radio, TV or internet
  • Improve drainage and water issues now
  • Check emergency kits, flood insurance
  • Be prepared


Eric Boldt’s video blog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYSj7ER_Rtk&feature=youtu.be


Remember to bookmark FOXLA.com/ElNiño for our interactive maps and postings.

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