El Nino, La Nina, and El Nino again?
Its all too much sometimes, isn't it?
Rest assured that this is very early in the game to be talking about El Nino coming back this fall, but a few things are happening in the background to make me think that it's at least a possibility.
First of all, El Nino may have gotten a bad rap last time around in 2015-16. All the stars aligned to create ideal conditions for the Central Pacific to warm to record levels and bring one of the strongest El Nino events ever measured on par with 1982-83 and 1997-98. We saw the early impacts like fires in Indonesia and drought, coral bleaching and other global disasters, but when it came to West Coast weather, it was very strange.
We saw more rain in the Pacific Northwest and dry weather for the Southwest, the exact opposite of what we have seen with the last two very strong El Nino events.
We may get a chance to test the theory again with an El Nino currently in the cards for this upcoming fall. La Nina is essential dead since the cooler water in the Pacific is quickly eroding and very warm water is forming off the coast of South America. When the Easterly trade winds move that into the Central Pacific, we should start moving toward El Nino conditions by spring and summer.
Some of the computer models have been going a little crazy over the last week and not only see an El Nino brewing, but a strong one. Many models take it into the strong territory by fall, so we at least have to put El Nino back on our radar. As a reminder, when El Nino is strong, we tend to see more rain for Southern California and when it is very strong for the whole state. We were reminded last go around that this isn't always the case, but for long range forecasts and seasonal rain, it's one of the best indicators we have even if it isn't perfect.