Vibrant satellite photos show greenest September in years after Tropical Storm Hilary
It’s been a green September, thanks to an unusually wet August brought on by Tropical Storm Hilary.
But don’t put away your raincoats yet because there’s reason to believe the upcoming winter will be just as wet as the last.
With a potentially strong El Niño forecast for Southern California, the state is already noticeably green.
New photos from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration show the striking change.
There is a 95% chance that El Niño will persist into next year, and a 71% chance that it will become a ‘strong’ El Niño, officials say.
On Aug. 20, Tropical Storm Hilary brought us the “wettest August day on record,” according to NASA’s Earth Observatory, with downtown Los Angeles getting 2.5 inches of rain and San Diego 1.8 inches.
Though August is typically dry in Southern California, “the surface layers of soil can respond quickly to weather events,” NASA said.
Scientists at NASA’s Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center (SPoRT) predicted that soils could be saturated for days after the abnormal weather event.
The photos below show the same view of Southern California from similar days in September in 2021, 2022 and 2023.
1. Satellite photo from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shows Southern California on Sept. 21, 2021 (NASA MODIS / Maxar Technologies) 2. Satellite image from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shows Southern California on Sept. 22, 2022 (NASA MODIS / Maxar Technologies) 3. Satellite image from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shows Southern California on Sept. 19, 2023 (NASA MODIS / Maxar Technologies)
Wildfires are visible in 2021, as well as a dried-out landscape. By 2022, though the fires are absent, the terrain is still mostly brown.
But this year, green patches abound, from the Central Valley down through the L.A. Basin and along the coast.
Hilary brought flooding to Southern California, especially in the Coachella Valley. But after the devastation, the state is greener than it has been at this time of year in recent memory.
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