'Godzilla El Niño' may be coming to California, latest forecast suggests; could bring 'extreme rainfall'

Forecasts Suggest 'Godzilla El Nino' for California

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- As El Niño continued to strengthen in the Pacific Ocean, climatologists on Thursday suggested in the wake of a newly released report that it has the potential to become the most powerful ever recorded and could bring "extreme rainfall" to drought-stricken California.

"Everything now is going to the right way for El Niño," Patzert said. "If this lines up to its potential, this thing can bring a lot of floods, mudslides and mayhem."

All computer models were predicting a strong El Niño to peak in late fall or early winter, according to the report, which was released by the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center.

Click through for more photos of the effects El Niño is having across the globe:

El Nino's effects
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'Godzilla El Niño' may be coming to California, latest forecast suggests; could bring 'extreme rainfall'
NOAA has released an update to its El Niño advisory. This image shows the satellite sea surface temperature departure for the month of October 2015, where orange-red colors are above normal temperatures and are indicative of El Niño. This event is forecast to continue through the winter, likely ranking as one of the top 3 strongest events since 1950, before fading in late spring or early summer. El Niño has already produced significant global impacts, and is expected to affect temperature and precipitation patterns across the United States during the upcoming months. Seasonal outlooks generally favor below-average temperatures and above-median precipitation across the southern tier of the United States, and above-average temperatures and below-median precipitation over the northern tier of the United States. (Photo via NOAA)
MAKASSAR, SOUTH SULAWESI, INDONESIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Two girls are seen walk behind of dried up ricefield at Manggara Bombang village, Maros district on September 21, 2015 in Makassar, Indonesia. Indonesia's national disaster management agency has declared that the majority of the country's 34 provinces are experiencing drought caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon, the worst drought in the past five years. The dry season forces villagers to walk long distances to find clean water. (Photo by Agung Parameswara/Getty Images)
NOAA issued an update to the El Niño analysis on September 10, 2015, in which forecasters from the Climate Predication Center say a strong El Niño is in place and likely to peak in late fall/early winter, and gradually weaken through spring 2016. This image shows the satellite-based average sea surface temperature data from the week of August 31 - September 6, 2015. Blue areas are cooler than the 1981-2010 average; red areas are warmer than that historical base period. The large pool of warmer than average temperatures along the equatorial Pacific is indicative of the El Niño conditions. (Photo via NOAA)
Sea surface temperature anomalies in November 1997 (left) compared to July 2015 (right). (Photo via NOAA)
A couple tries to cool off from the heat caused by El Nino with water overflowing from a defunct but still watery reservoir called the Wawa dam in Montalban in Rizal, east of Manila on February 21, 2010. El Niño was expected to dehydrate the Metro Manila area over in the next two months, according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa). Earlier this month the government warned a possible drought caused by the El Nino weather system could slash Philippines rice yields this year. AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Tons of dead fish are seen on the banks of the Solimoes River due the water's low level, November 25, 2009 near Manaquiri, 120Km from Manaus. The dry season, affected by the weather phenomenon EL Nino, is worse this year. According a study from Brazil's universities USP,UNICAMP,UFRJ and Embrapa, the country could lose some USD 3.6 billion over the next 40 years. AFP PHOTO / ANTONIO SCORZA (Photo credit should read ANTONIO SCORZA/AFP/Getty Images)
Heavy clouds covers Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta on November 29, 2009. The month of November ends the dry season and starts the wet period but the weather bureau anticipates El Nino's dry spell to affect Indonesian weather. AFP PHOTO / Bay ISMOYO (Photo credit should read BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

It has a more than 90 percent chance of continuing through the Northern Hemisphere in winter, and a roughly 85 percent chance of lasting until early spring.

The August report stated that "forecaster consensus unanimously favors a strong El Niño," with peak 3-month-average sea surface temperatures that could exceed 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit degrees above normal in the Niño 3.4 region.

If the forecast turns out to be accurate, "it will place the 2015 event among the strongest El Niños," Emily Becker of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric and Administration wrote on NOAA's website Climate.gov. The records date back until 1950, she said.

Becker dubbed the current El Niño "Bruce Lee" back in July because of its strength.

Bill Patzert, a climatologist for the NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, told the Los Angeles Times that it had the potential to be the "Godzilla El Niño."

He added El Niño's signal in the ocean was "stronger" in August than it was in the summer of 1997 when the most powerful El Niño on record developed.

He described the current mass of warm water in the ocean as being "bigger" and "deeper" than it was at the same point of the 1997 event.

"Everything now is going to the right way for El Niño," Patzert told the Times. "If this lines up to its potential, this thing can bring a lot of floods, mudslides and mayhem."

The 1997 El Niño double the rainfall total in Southern California the following winter, the newspaper reported.

But that much rain caused a host of problems, as storms in early 1998 brought flooding and mudslides that left 17 people dead and caused more than half a billion dollars in damage to the state.

The State Department of Water weighed in after the report, stating in a news release that the event would not be enough to end the California drought, which is headed into its fifth year.

"California cannot count on potential El Niño conditions to halt or reverse drought conditions," state climatologist Michael Anderson said in the release. "Historical weather data shows us that at best, there is a 50/50 chance of having a wetter winter. Unfortunately, due to shifting climate patterns, we cannot even be that sure."

El Niño occurs roughly every two to seven years, according to NOAA. It is a climate pattern in the tropical Pacific that results from the interaction between the ocean's surface layers and overlying atmosphere.

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