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How El Nino and La Nina affect future weather patterns


Ongoing climate change

California’s weather pattern over the last two years has been abnormal and destructive as California experienced more than a dozen atmospheric rivers, hurricanes, flooding, and other weather catastrophes impacting nearly every community statewide. Experts expect those weather problems to continue into 2024 as they predict a 75% to 85% chance of a strong El Niño event developing during the 2023-24 rainy season.

“Weather is an ever-evolving issue, and now that we are heading into colder months, we must prepare for the weather change.” said Diana Crofts-Pelayo, assistant director of crisis communication and public affairs at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). “Families should take several measures to stay safe during the winter months and take into consideration our suggestions. First, families should make an emergency plan; when an environmental disaster strikes everybody should know the game plan and where to go if they aren’t together. Second, keep your important items together in a box at home, so if you need to evacuate the house you can grab it and go. Third, we recommend signing up for weather alerts via” 

Bianca Feldkircher, emergency response specialist in the Regional Operations Center at Western Region Headquarters, states that EL Nino and La Nina play key roles in climate change. El Nino is an irregularly occurring and complex series of climatic changes affecting the equatorial Pacific region, which results in the appearance of unusually warm, nutrient-poor water off northern Peru and Ecuador, typically in late December. La Nina is a cooling of the water in the equatorial Pacific, which occurs at irregular intervals and is associated with widespread changes in weather patterns complementary to those of El Niño, but less extensive and damaging in their effects.

“When you have those warmer temperatures in the Pacific, it is a greater chance of a lot more storms occurring in those regions, but I want to start by saying that El Nino and La Nina are not stormes, just abnormal climate patterns,” Feldkircher said as she spoke about the predictions of climate abnormalities. “An El Nino advisory is in effect as there is a 35% chance of extreme climate change lasting until the summer. The data shows that there will be high precipitation, rainfall, hazards, and chance of snowfall.” 

Jazmin Ortega, the Deputy Press Secretary at the California Department of Insurance advises people to start covering their stuff with flood insurance, which covers all living expenses caused by weather disasters. “ We stress to consumers to not only have insurance but to also know everything included within their policy so they can create a recovery plan.” 

You can sign up for flood insurance by visiting