Monstrous El Nino expected to hit Southern California

Amy Powell Image
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Monstrous El Nino expected to reach Southern California
JPL climatologist Bill Patzert discusses potential hazardous conditions from El Nino during an appearance in Santa Monica Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) -- Big storms are expected this winter, prompting warnings of El Nino in Southern California.

A Jet Propulsion Laboratory expert who is sounding the alarm of the potential hazardous conditions made an appearance in Santa Monica Tuesday.

JPL climatologist Bill Patzert has been tracking El Nino activity on satellites for months and he's convinced Southern California will be slammed with what he's calling a "Godzilla" storm this winter.

"As we move into winter looking ahead to January, February and March, this El Nino is a monster and I guarantee you it's going to deliver," he said.

Speaking to members of Heal the Bay and the public at the Santa Monica Aquarium, Patzert said Southern California should expect very heavy rainfall and storms that could trigger flooding and mudslides.

The last two major El Ninos happened in 1997 to 1998 and 1982 to 1983.

"If this behaves like the last two really large El Ninos, you're looking at double our normal rainfall and hopefully, double our normal snowpack in the Sierras," said Patzert.

The forecast is raising concern about the pollution that may wind up in the waters of the Santa Monica bay.

Heal the Bay wants members of the public to be aware of the potential problems.

"An average rainfall, 10 billion gallons of water rushes from L.A. to Santa Monica bay carrying with it all sorts of pollutants from bacteria to trash, to metals and all sorts of things that are both bad for public health and also for wild life," said Sarah Sikich, Vice President of Heal the Bay. "So, we're really encouraging people to try to make sure their streets are as clean as possible."