El Nino Impact On California Drought Still Unclear

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Golden State may not be able to count on the weather phenomenon known as “El Nino” to alleviate conditions behind some of the driest years on record.

KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports U.S. Climate Prediction Center said Thursday that El Nino conditions are 80 percent likely to form this fall and winter, which would likely lead to a weak to moderate precipitation punch.

El Nino Impact On Calif. Drought Still Unclear

knx logo black El Nino Impact On California Drought Still Unclear

According to a report (PDF) issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the likelihood of El Nino arriving in the Northern Hemisphere this summer is about 70 percent and up to 80 percent during the fall and early winter months.

While strong El Nino winters have traditionally meant wet winters and plentiful storm systems, National Weather Service meteorologist Curt Kaplan said the weakening weather pattern that redirects storms into the West due to warming ocean waters likely won’t produce enough rainfall to save us from the drought.

But Kaplan warned El Nino could still surprise us.

“We could still see some higher than normal conditions based on what normal is for the year,” he said.

Downtown Los Angeles, for example, could potentially see about 15 inches of rain in an average year – a total that has yet to be approached during drought conditions that began in 2012.

The new totals are up from forecasts made by meteorologists in January, when NOAA officials predicted a 50 percent chance that El Nino would form this summer or fall.


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