El Niño Finally Hits California, But Worst Is Yet To Come

That El Niño everyone’s been talking about — the big one likened to Godzilla and prayed for as a cure to California’s drought? It’s here. It’s big. And it’s already a mess.

Los Angeles was drenched on Tuesday by a the first major storm of the year, which caused moderate flooding and damaged some roads. Rain is expected to continue throughout the week, and a slew of storms are set to follow, worrying officials.

The Los Angeles Times reports that at least four storms are lined up back-to-back across the Pacific, stretching from Asia to the California coast, and all are expected to bring deluges to the drought-stricken metropolis.

Climatologist Bill Patzert told the newspaper this “relentless” onslaught could be bad news as water begins to penetrate topsoil hardened by a half-decade of drought. Mudslides and flash flooding, reminiscent of the strongest on record 1997-1998 El Niño, come next.

“It’s a freaking mess when it shows up,” Patzert told The Huffington Post in December, shortly before this season’s El Niño tied with the 1997-1998 one as the strongest ever.

Areas primed for mudslides and flooding include those damaged by California’s years-long onslaught of wildfires, which now lack vegetation that usually keeps soil in place.

Take a look at some of the short-term impacts of El Niño throughout Los Angeles below.

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