About El Niño in OC
El Niño is a weather phenomenon related to unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean, triggering greater than usual rainfall as well as storm clusters that can saturate the ground and produce flash flooding.
The County of Orange is responsible for all large flood control channels around the county, as well as street gutters and catch basins in the unincorporated areas and the cities of Mission Viejo, Lake Forest and Dana Point. All other cities maintain their own street gutters and catch basins.
Dangers from El Niño conditions are real: In 1982-83, El Nino storms killed 36 people and caused $1.2 billion in damages when coastal Orange County areas flooded and mudslides destroyed canyon homes. In December 1997, the most severe storm ever measured in Orange County hit, devastating parts of Laguna Beach, Lake Forest and Irvine, and around the I-5 Freeway. More than 7 inches of rain fell in parts of south Orange County in one day.
Residents are encouraged to get ready NOW for expected winter rains and potential flooding:
- Be prepared at home and away!
- Be alert for potential dangers!
- Stay out of rivers, flood channels and storm drains!