SAN DIEGO — El Nino is officially in progress as water temperatures have been warming up in Central and South America — heading to a beach near you in the coming months.

“It begins near where the equator hits South America, Equator, Peru. The volume, the buildup of hot water there says El Nino has arrived,” said Professor Pat Abbott from San Diego State University.

The extremely wet 2023 winter has nudged California out of severe drought conditions and weather experts are predicting this coming year could be wetter than last year.

“I think this winter, we do need to worry about coastal erosion, coastal flooding. That’s something we’ve experienced for some time,” said Dr. Tom Corringham from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

While troubles are expected in the coastal areas, inland areas will see a measure of fire protection helping to buy some time between major forest fires. Still, the worries persist of flooding and heavy surf ravaging coastal homes.

“They’ve done a study here at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography where we found flood damages were 10 times higher during El Nino compared to La Nina years,” said Dr. Corringham.