Californians should brace for another wet winter as an El Niño climate pattern takes over.
During an El Nino winter, the southern third to half of the United States, including California, tends to get more precipitation.
The big picture: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says El Niño is here. And there’s a better than 90% chance it will last through winter in early 2024.
Why it matters: California officials are concerned about flooding as the state faces a second consecutive winter of heavy precipitation.
Last year, particularly intense storms swelled rivers and reservoirs, inundating Central Valley and Monterey County communities and dumping snow in the Sierra Nevada.
By the numbers: According to officials, more than 7 million California residents live in an area where they are at risk of flooding. Over the past two decades, every California county has experienced a flooding emergency.
- Successive atmospheric rivers that started in late December 2022 caused an estimated $4.6 billion in damage.
What’s next: State officials say they are already working with various partners to prepare for high water. Reports say that the State-Federal Flood Operations Center is pre-positioned flood control materials at critical locations, including 2.4 million sandbags.
“These flood risks are getting more intense and we’re doing more than ever to protect California from these risks,” Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said.
What they’re saying: “Climate extremes are creating more challenges for California, including increasing flood risk across the state,” Department of Water Resources director Karla Nemeth told the LA Times. “Extreme drought and extreme flooding are both expected in the future, and California is responding with historic investments.”
Go deeper: Read more about California’s efforts to prepare for potential flooding at latimes.com.
Are you prepared? It’s been an interesting year for weather in the Golden State.
If you don’t have flood coverage, consider buying it before the rains start. Speak with a trusted insurance advisor, including us at Premier Private Client, to get a quote and see if flood protection makes sense for you.