"Godzilla" El Niño Could be on the Way

"Godzilla" El Niño Could be on the Way
By LeAnn Gregg
NBC News

Torrential rains, once in a generation storms, and weather related havoc may threaten parts of the U.S. within months. Forecasters say El Niño, warming off pacific waters, is on track to become one of the most powerful on record. 

"This is the Godzilla El Niño if it matures and comes to fruition," said Bill Patzert, Climatologist with NASA.

El Niño, expected to peak in late fall or early winter, is expected to bring above average precipitation. Much needed in the nation's parched regions of California and parts of the west. 

But the heavy rainfall may not be enough to end the long term drought.

"This El Niño will be a nice down payment on drought relief, but will not be a drought buster," said Patzert.

Forecasters say this El Niño could be even stronger than in 1997, which was the most powerful on record.

Then, too much rain too fast, caused widespread flooding, mudslides and billions of dollars of damage, and now El Niño again poses the threat of weather related disasters.

"The signal that we see in the Pacific from space is actually larger than it was in August of 1997 and so this, potentially, could be the El Niño of our generation,” said Patzert. 

Forecasters say there's a greater than 90 percent chance El Niño will continue through this winter with its impact felt across the country and around the globe.