The strongest winter storms in more than 25 years could be headed to drought-ridden California.
Climate scientists agree that all computer models are pointing to what they are calling a “Godzilla El Niño” event that is stronger than the previous record in 1997-98.
A strong El Niño shifts atmospheric patterns worldwide, but mostly impacts the U.S. in winter. The biggest shift moves a subtropical stream that normally pours rain over Central America to the north, toward the southwest U.S.
That could mean a lot of rain for California all at once, leading to floods, mudslides and other problems.
During the 1997-98 storms, widespread flooding and mudslides caused 17 deaths and more than $550 million in damage in California, according to reports.
In the winter of 1982-83, during the second largest El Niño on record, powerful storm surge wreaked havoc along the coast.
Read more at CNN.com about what this El Niño could have in store.
There are some basic things you can do to prepare for possible flooding. Check out this illustrated guide from Santa Barbara County for some useful prevention strategies.