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Massive El Niño Storm Hits California

  • VOA News

A driver moves his airport shuttles van through flood waters following an El Nino-strengthened storm in San Diego, California, Jan. 6, 2016.

A driver moves his airport shuttles van through flood waters following an El Nino-strengthened storm in San Diego, California, Jan. 6, 2016.

A powerful el Niño influenced storm has hit the coast of California, dumping much needed rains on a state stricken with a severe drought.

Much of the state's coastline saw heavy winds and rain late Wednesday, toppling trees, causing car crashes, and flooding streets and streams.

No serious property damage or injuries were reported, but forecasters expect another round of storms to hit later Thursday.

Water covers a closed Las Posas Road near Camarillo, Calif., after heavy rain from the first in a series of El Nino storms passed over the area on, Jan. 6, 2016.

Water covers a closed Las Posas Road near Camarillo, Calif., after heavy rain from the first in a series of El Nino storms passed over the area on, Jan. 6, 2016.

The rains were a relief to the state, which is experiencing a historic drought. But Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warned Wednesday the rainfall is not enough.

"We need four years like this to recover," the major said in an online forum.

Last month, the U.S. space agency, NASA, said that satellite images showed that this year's El Niño could be as powerful as the one in 1997-1998, which led to intense ice storms and flooding across the country.

The El Niño phenomenon occurs every few years, when tropical waters off the Pacific coast of South America turn warmer than normal. Warm air rises off those waters and changes the path of the major wind currents that blow around the planet.

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