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Impending El Niño Will Be A 'Conveyor Belt' Of Storms, JPL Climatologist Says

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A Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist has news for us: El Niño's here and we can look forward to a 'conveyor belt' of storms. We've been hearing about El Niño for a while now, with predictions for an especially strong one this year. And now, Bill Patzert, a climatologist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, says it's here, the L.A. Times reports. "It's official. El Niño's here. It's a done deal," he said. "So at this point, we're just waiting for the impacts in California."

Patzer previously said that El Niño was too "too big to fail" and that North America's winter would not be normal. Now, according to the National Weather Service, conditions "reflect a strong and mature El Niño episode."

Patzert says that we should expect peak El Niño come January, February and March, which may include heavy rain, mudslides and "one storm after another like a conveyor belt." He suggests we "get off the couch" and make preparations now, because "these storms are imminent."

Scientists cite the warming temperatures at sea level in the Pacific Ocean west of Peru as one cause for this year's storm, plus the winds along the equator have changed directions, meaning warmer waters are headed towards North and South America. The Pacific Ocean near Peru just hit 5 degrees above average on November 4, which is warmer than temps in early November in 1997, the year of the strongest El Niño.

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And while we wait, El Niño's already been causing issues elsewhere, like last month's Hurricane Patricia in Mexico and a drought in the Philippines.