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Stanley A. Changnon, 1999: "Impacts of 1997-1998 El Niño-Generated Weather in the United States,"
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 80, no.9: pp. 1819-28. ("The net economic benefit was surprisingly positive...direct losses nationally were about $4 billion and the benefits were approximately $19 billion")
(The net economic effect of the last El Niño was a gain of $15 billion because of a longer growing season and less use of winter heating. Deducing $1.5 billion for flooding and excess rain in California still gives a net benefit).
Originally posted by swan001