A rare third year of La Niña is on deck for California, forecasters say.
The weather agency’s latest figures show the sea level is rising rapidly in the Central Valley, which accounts for 60 percent of California’s total water supply.
The sea level anomaly for June and July is the second-highest in the last three years, just a 1 percent increase above the long-term average, according to the National Weather Service’s La Niña Index.
Forecasts put the El Niño off to the north late this month, and the system could last for months, according to the NOAA.
That’s why the last time California had a strong La Niña, which leads to up to three feet of sea-level rise in the Bay Area, came in 1985. It wasn’t until 1996 that the sea level went up more than three feet, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2013, sea levels rose about one foot, said the Chronicle.
“There is a possibility that we will have another El Niño this year in California,” said Bill Patzert, chief of the NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., who said the agency is expecting a strong La Niña.
“The odds of another El Niño this year appear to be higher than ever,” Patzert told FoxNews.com.
He added, “The sea-level pressure anomaly that we have had since January is extremely strong for this time of year. So a couple of significant El Niño events will be required to produce the global pattern that’s required to generate all the sea-level rise that’s occurring.”
It’s the third year on the calendar where La Niña has played a role in California. In 2008 and 2011, the state was hit by two consecutive La Niña years, each lasting a year, that raised the average sea level by about two feet, said Patzert.
While there is some uncertainty about what will happen in California, with sea levels rising by several feet this century and the state’s