The most recent El Niño prediction from the National Weather Service says there’s a 90% chance of severe weather this winter. It’s got a lot of people on the Central Coast nervous, including longtime resident Caleb Randall.
"It's been so long since we've had a good flood and a lot of rainfall in the area we tend to forget," Randall said.
However, Randall hasn’t forgotten the 1998 El Niño which triggered landslides and floods throughout the Central Coast. He remembers trying to drive to work in Watsonville and being forced to turn around because of the rising waters.
Ahead of yet another El Niño, which some describe as “Godzilla,” Randall says he isn’t seeing many preventative measures being taken. Just look at the bridge on Davis Road over the Salinas River.
"You're looking at just trees,” Randall shows us. “It's not just shrubbery, it's not just grass. What's going to happen is, up above, as you have more debris, lots of dead grasses, you have smaller trees, as those loosen and come up, they'll come down here. They're going to wrap around the different trees then you're going to have a natural made dam."
That water, with nowhere to go, will top its banks and spread. Neighbors and a number of local, state and federal agencies want to maintain the nearly 100 miles of riverbanks, but the overload of paperwork is overwhelming.
"You have to get a 404 permit, a 401 permit, a 1600 permit and that is a lengthy process, said David Chardavoyne, the general manager of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency. “And the regulatory agencies have their processes. If we showed you, and we have these flow charts, all the different steps needed to be able to start work in any piece of the river channel, it's a little scary."