El Niño downpours have overwhelmed Southern California’s vulnerable flood control system

El Nino Storm Damage Repair

el nino ravages coastline

The 2017 El Niño was predicted to be the worst ever, and the downpours were expected to overwhelm Southern California’s vulnerable flood control system. Which could mean flood cleanup at your home. Not since the El Niño weather event in 1997-98 that resulted in 17 deaths has there been an El Niño this large. Some called it a Godzilla-sized event.

Cities all along the coast of California are vulnerable to flooding. In some cases, widespread flooding is possible. In others, flooding might be localized. If you have experienced flooding, call professionals for rapid flood cleanup.

“The effects of El Niño take months to be felt and may mean 2024 breaks temperature records. The world’s hottest year on record so far was 2016, coinciding with a strong El Niño – although climate change has fueled extreme temperatures even in years without the phenomenon.” –Euro News

A Record-Breaking El Niño Event

Ocean temperatures in 2017 were higher than they were in the summer before the huge 1997-1998 El Niño weather event that led to storms severely impacting much of California that winter. The event is called an El Niño because the temperatures in question exist in a Pacific Ocean region called Niño 3.4.

Sediment removal projects are planned for dams at Pacoima, Tujunga and at three locations in the San Gabriel Mountains. All have significant sediment buildup, and removing it would allow more room for runoff and reduce the chance of flooding.
Work on The Devil’s Gate is stalled because critics claim the operation will negatively impact wildlife habitats in the basin, mess up recreational opportunities and create too much truck traffic for local residents. These opponents want a small sediment removal operation.

Officials across the state are looking into other things that can be done to prevent flooding and the expensive disaster response for homeowners and businesses that may be an inevitable consequence of the El Niño event. In some areas, officials are asking for a complete investigation into the preparedness of flood control facilities like Devil’s Gate and others.

History of El Niño

Previous storms have already shown that flood control in California is vulnerable. The dam at Devil’s Gate was built in 1920 following massive flooding and a huge flood cleanup effort earlier in the century, including the 1914 flood that sent a dozen or more homes and two markets down the river.

More recently, a 2010 heavy rainfall came a year after the Station fire and sent a mudslide into a staggering 40 or more homes. Debris from the mountain wedged a boulder weighing more than 10 tons into an important catch basin causing additional flooding needing flood cleanup professionals.
As ocean temperatures in the critical region west of Peru rise to the highest levels of the year, benchmark location temperatures are up 3.4 degrees over last year. That’s higher than in 1997 when the massive El Niño resulted. Trade winds that cool waters west of Peru are also weakening. Experts say those trade winds would have to remain weak for a huge El Niño rivaling the previous record storm to result.

“Seven years ago an exceptionally strong El Niño took hold in the Pacific Ocean, triggering a cascade of damaging changes to the world’s weather. Indonesia was plunged into a deep drought that fueled exceptional wildfires, while heavy rains inundated villages and farmers’ fields in parts of the Horn of Africa. The event also helped make 2016 the planet’s hottest year on record.”

“Now El Niño is back. The odds are decent that this one will be another strong event, raising concerns of extreme weather in the coming months. And a strong El Niño is very likely to set another global heat record.” –Scientific American, in 2023

In the the 1982-1983 years El Niño was considered heavy. These years the storms caused flooding, landslides, coastal erosion, excessive flooding and damaged coastal properties. Again in 1997-1998 El Niño cause more damages that required flood cleanup professionals to get involved helping residential and commercial properties. The ’97-98 El Niño caused nearly a billion dollars in damages along the SoCal coast.

While a massive El Niño event could wash away several years of drought, many homeowners and business owners are left wondering if its worth it because of the risk of flooding and the hassles and expense of flood cleanup.

Flood Cleanup & Repair by Orange Restoration

If you need flood cleanup in your home because of an El Niño event, San Diego’s sporadic rainy days, pipe bursts, or for leaks from above from neighbor’s apartment, contact us at Orange Restoration at 619-376-6838 for results that will ensure professional flood cleanup and water damage mitigation, restoration services, and return your home to normal.