El Nino forecast update for California

El Nino is still on track for the fall and winter but some of the expectations are getting downplayed in the latest update.

The consensus is for a weak to moderate El Nino with average to slightly above average rain in Southern California. There is no indication associated rainfall will be above, or below average for Northern California.

A large area of cooler water has crept into the classic El Nino zone near the equator. This will make it more difficult for El Nino to form, but by no means does it kill the event. Right now it's 65 percent likely we will see El Nino this fall and winter.

The good news is that there isn't a strong connection to decreased precipitation in the fall and winter. That bodes well for leveling off the drought. But the improvement is temporary: drought conditions for 2015 have to be considered. Californians use water 12 months of the year but there's only "stockpiling" during the later fall and winter with snow and rain.

The bottom line is that while an El Nino can help out some areas of California, California needs a massive rain year to end the current drought. This forecast doesn't indicate 2014-15 will be that year.


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