Flood zone map of San Diego
A severe El Niño this winter could put a dent in San Diego's economy, according to Vince Vasquez of the National University System Institute for Policy Research.
The 1982–1983 storms caused more than $2 billion in statewide damage, stated in 2015 dollars. In all, 6661 homes and 1330 businesses were damaged or destroyed, 481 state residents were injured, and 36 died.
Comparison of ocean water temperatures in 1997 and 2015
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert/L.A. Times
The research group figures that 1.75 percent of the San Diego metro area is vulnerable to water damage from a severe El Niño. There are 54,560 county residents living in 100-year flood zones; they are most vulnerable.
The two industries that could suffer the most are tourism and agriculture. Attendance at theme parks and San Diego Zoo could suffer. In 1998, attendance at SeaWorld San Diego dropped 7 percent due to an El Niño as well as new park attractions.