A man drives defiantly onto a storm beaten North Jetty. Photo by Tyler Whiteside.

As California reels from this winter’s onslaught of nasty weather, which caused more than $400 million in damages to our highways, an El Niño storm may be looming.

Meteorologists with the Climate Prediction Center reported yesterday that it’s more than 50 percent likely an El Niño will hit Northern California between September and December of 2017.

Chances of the Northern hemisphere seeing an El Niño season. CPC.

“There are a lot of players on the (weather) field,” CPC Research Scientist Emily Becker told SF Gate. “El Niño is associated with an increased chance — not a 100 percent chance, but an increased chance — of higher-than-average rainfall in California.”

While an El Niño does not guarantee a wetter-than-average rainy season — the last one, in the 2015-16 year, was pretty dry — huge deluges are possible. A repeat of our most recent fall and winter seasons could prove catastrophic for Humboldt County’s infrastructure, as crews are still scrambling to repair the array of landslides, slip outs, and sinkholes that’s estimated to cost the state upwards of $18 million.

El Niño forecasts are updated on a monthly basis in the CPC’s Climate Diagnostics Bulletin.

Several Humboldt rivers exceeded flood stage this year. Photo: Humboldt County OES.

A landslide washes away a massive chunk of Wilder Ridge Road near Honeydew. Photo by county surveyor Ronald Garton.

El Niño southern oscillation in December of 2016. CPC.

El Niño southern oscillation for March 2017. CPC.