(NEWSER)  The El Niño weather system of 1997-98 was so bad that descriptions of it sound like something out of a Ben Affleck disaster movie: Australia turned into a slow cooker, California and Peru were pummeled with rain, and there were rampant fires in Indonesia; around 23,000 people perished from the combined effects around the world, per NBC News.

Now NASA is warning that this year's El Niño could be just as bad, if not worse, with a Dec. 27 satellite image of sea surface heights indicating there could be severe droughts, floods, and other weather events that could cause humanitarian emergencies, NBC reports.

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