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Few places would benefit more from a winter of El Niño-driven rainstorms than this massive, rapidly depleting reservoir in the desert 90 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

Satellite images comparing Oct. 1, 2015 and Oct. 2, 1997 show a large area of white, which indicate high sea levels, which reflect high sea temperatures. The image shows how this year's El Nino could be as powerful as the one in 1997, the strongest El Nino on record. (Credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Satellite images comparing Oct. 1, 2015 and Oct. 2, 1997 show a large area of white, which indicate high sea levels, which reflect high sea temperatures. The image shows how this year’s El Nino could be as powerful as the one in 1997, the strongest El Nino on record. (Credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

On Thursday, a new federal forecast said El Niño is continuing to strengthen, with experts saying it’s on track to produce potentially record rainfall.

The new forecast is particularly significant because it shows the increased rain reaching far into Northern California to the mountain ranges and system of reservoirs that provide the state with huge amounts of its water. Earlier forecasts showed El Niño providing rain mainly to Southern California.

If El Niño acts as it has before, “there will be a number of significant storms that will bring heavy rains. What that brings will be floods and mudslides,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center. “We’re more confident we’re going to be seeing El Niño through this winter.”

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