Strong El Niño expected to bring unbelievable downpour in California

Strong El Niño expected to bring unbelievable downpour in California

Parts of bone-dry California will likely get significant relief from drought this winter as El Niño is expected to bring heavy rains to areas where they are needed the most, weather forecasters said.

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted at least a 33 per cent greater chance of a wet winter across the Sierra Nevada and the Sacramento Valley in winter.

Earlier this year, weather forecasters limited the likelihood of above-average rainfall to Southern California. But they added most of the Bay Area to the roster around a month ago.

Anthony Artusa, a seasonal forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center of NOAA, said, "Especially with a strong El Niño, as we move into January and February, what we've seen from past El Niños (is) the precipitation will work its way northward through Northern California."

Optimism for a wet winter for the drought-hit Golden State grew along with measurements of a stronger El Niño. Normally, a moderate El Niño improves the chances of a wet winter in Southern California, while a strong El Niño boosts the odds of soaking rainstorms in the north.

As the eastern Pacific is warming up, weather forecasters have pegged the odds of a robust El Nino at 90 per cent.