Coming El Niño?

There are a lot of articles beginning to circulate about a possible very strong El Niño winter. Comparisons are being made to the El Niño of 1997-1998.

From a listing of historical floods in Monterey County going back to 1911 compiled by the MCWRA:

February 1998
In February 1998, a series of “El Niño” winter storms hit various parts of California, and particularly Monterey County. Close timing of the rainfall events contributed to intense flooding, in that heavy rain would continually hit ground that was still saturated from the previous rain. An estimated 50 roads and highways were closed or restricted, in most cases due to washouts, landslides, and mudslides. Several communities were evacuated, particularly the entire town of Pajaro near Watsonville, all residents of the Sherwood Lake Mobile Home Park near Carr Lake in Salinas, and portions of Bolsa Knolls and Toro Estates. Drinking water quality warnings remained in effect for certain areas for some time afterward. By the end of the first week of February, at least 6,600 homes and businesses had been without power for varying periods of time. The State Governor declared Monterey County, amongst others, a disaster area.

The most significant type of damage involved land and mudslides. In particular, the Las Lomas area experienced severe damage of eight residential parcels which Monterey County acquired, through the Federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, removing all property improvements. Each parcel was subsequently rezoned to “open space” in perpetuity.

County-wide, losses resulting from the February 1998 events are estimated at over $38 million, with specifically agriculture-related losses totaling over $7 million and involving approximately 29,000 damaged acres.
historical Floods in Monterey County

And here are the most recent ENSCO reports from NWA/NOAA

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Historically, Spring predictions are often inaccurate on these, but the May 8th report promises to be more enlightening.