Winter Weather Forecast for California: What’s In Store For the Drought?

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its annual winter weather outlook.
Winter is coming. But don’t invest in umbrella stock just yet.

Winter in California varies quite a bit from the northern part of the state to the southern part. But the newest forecast says that across most of the state, one thing will likely be consistent: It will be warmer than normal.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday provided the latest winter outlook for California and the nation, predicting that the drought is expected to persist yet another year — and even expand to our neighbors.

Getting a little more technical, the NOAA expects what its Climate Prediction Center called for this month: La Niña. La Niña, the opposite of El Niño, usually means drier conditions in the Golden State.

The folks in NorCal can expect a little more relief than those in SoCal, if the predictions come true.

“Drought will likely persist through the winter in many regions currently experiencing drought, including much of California and the Southwest,” the forecast states. “Drought improvement is anticipated in northern California, the northern Rockies, the northern Plains and parts of the Ohio Valley.”
“This climate outlook provides the most likely outcome for the upcoming winter season, but it also provides the public with a good reminder that winter is just up ahead and it’s a good time to prepare for typical winter hazards, such as extreme cold and snowstorms,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Regardless of the outlook, there is always some chance for extreme winter weather, so prepare now for what might come later this winter.”

Stephen Harrison, who is based out of San Diego, offered some additional perspective on NOAA’s outlook.
A look at precipitation expectations for this winter.

“We shouldn’t lose all hope about there not being a wet winter,” he says. “It actually turns out that a few of [La Niña winters] are actually very wet.”

He said the NOAA forecast is calculated using probabilities of where and how the weather will strike.

“There’s a better chance of it being a drier than normal winter [in California],” he said. “Which is not what we need to help out with the drought.”