The currently strong El Niño could produce coastal flooding across the U.S. West Coast this winter.
Scientists at NASA have found that strong El Niño triggers up to five high-tide coastal flooding events across the U.S. West Coast during winter. Each of these floods are considered 10-year floods, because they have a one in 10 chance of occurring every year.
The increased risk of flooding due to strong El Niño is driven by Pacific water temperatures. El Niño is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean around the equator. The warmer than normal water expands, causing water levels to rise and combined with a winter’s king tide, coastal flooding could occur.
Coastal roads, communities and harbors could all be affected at different times this winter from Seattle to San Diego.
Current El Niño forecasts by government forecasters predict a 55 percent chance that the strong El Niño will persist through the winter months. El Niño could continue through spring, changing winter weather patterns across the U.S.