Do you remember the first time you heard the phrase “El Niño”? For most of us, it was during the 1997-98 winter season, when the granddaddy of all El Niños caused catastrophic flooding and mudslides along the California coast.
You may have learned about El Niño and the damage it caused that season by watching the news, or by talking to friends or colleagues. You probably learned that roughly 2,100 people were killed worldwide as a result of the storming, which led to at least $33 billion in property damage. We also learned that the weather event known as El Niño has actually been occurring every few years since 1986.
We learned all these things because unusual and tragic occurrences of any sort tend to become big news. And the El Niño of 1997-98 was most definitely an unusual and tragic occurrence. For many homeowners without flood damage and storm damage insurance, it was also an unbelievably costly event.