How to Prep for El Niño
Are you ready?
El Niño starts as a churn in the guts of the equatorial Pacific. The trade winds stop, surface water warms up, and storms build. The jet stream drops and hangs over Southern California, pulling in maritime moisture and sending those storms into the drought-parched Southwest. Or at least hopefully it does. This year could bring the second-strongest El Niño on record, falling in line behind the ’97–’98 season, which surfers remember for the Big Wednesday storm that brought some of the largest waves ever to the North Shore of Hawaii and ripped off the end of the Ventura Pier when it hit the continental coast. Current ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific are the warmest anyone can remember, and climate scientists are predicting a “Godzilla” El Niño season. But climate predictions are just that, predictions. This year could be biblical or it could be a bust, like last winter. We asked a variety of West Coasters what they are expecting from potentially record-breaking weather.