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High Tides, El Niño And ‘The Blob’ In California

Evening Edition host Peggy Pico talks with Dan Cayan, climate researcher with Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the US Geological Survey, and Alex Tardy, meteorologist with National Weather Service, about San Diego experiencing a series of extremely high tides and how might the warm water Blob off our coast factor into all this.

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On Thanksgiving and again on Christmas, tides in San Diego are forecast to reach seven feet, which is unusually high for Southern California.

Complicating the situation are the storms predicted for the same days. When a storm surge pairs up with these very high tides, the consequences can be flooding and misery in low-lying coastal areas, including Ensenada, Imperial Beach, La Jolla and Del Mar.

El Niño is getting stronger by the day. When the ocean temperature along the equator reached 36.5F degrees above normal, meteorologists were impressed by the strength of the phenomenon. On Monday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a temperature of three degrees above normal.

“Repeated storms will really benefit us with a snowpack,” NOAA meteorologist Alex Tardy told KPBS Midday Edition on Tuesday. “We have a lot of hope and scientific evidence that we’ll at least see a normal snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.”

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And there's more. A large zone of warm water is parked off the Northern California coast. "The Blob," as it is called, is a remnant of the last two warm winters in California, where the ocean did not lose much heat. It is uncertain what effect this mass will have on San Diego weather.

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