El Niño in the Tijuana River Valley

San Diego is seeing the first impacts of above average rain and intense weather conditions due to the 2015-2016 “El Niño” season.  The first of these storms hit San Diego on Tuesday and according to the Los Angeles Times, it is just the first of three to four storms heading towards our coast.

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“El Niño” is an oscillation of the ocean-atmosphere system in the tropical Pacific and unusually warm ocean temperatures that far-reaching impacts on weather systems worldwide, from drought induced wildfire in Indonesia to mudslides and flooding in California.  More info can be found here.  NOAA predicts a strong El Niño season for the winter of 2015-16.

 

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El Niño ocean surface temperatures (in red) in 1997 and summer of 2015.

Flooding, coastal erosion, stress on infrastructure systems, and impacts to habitat are some of the most significant impacts our region will see.  After an heavy rain the past two days, local news stations are abuzz with reports of flooded roadways as flash flood and tornado warnings.  Photos of current conditions in the Tijuana River Valley (TRV) and solid waste impacts to habitat in the region are below.

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WILDCOAST will continue working with stakeholders in the TRV after the storm to strategize on post-El Niño solid waste clean up efforts in the TRV.  Today, the forecast is predicting similar weather conditions and surf up to 15 feet.  Stay tuned for more “El Niño” updates in San Diego County and be sure to check the County’s SD Beach Info site for water quality conditions!!

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