And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that higher-than-usual temperatures would haunt Californians into this winter despite promises of cooler weather when El Niño reaches the state.
This is why many forecasters believe that this year’s El Niño, despite being the strongest in the past half century, will not be able to bring enough precipitation to put an end to California’s megadrought.
On Thursday, NOAA issued its winter forecast, and the predictions are conflicting. The agency confirmed that El Niño will be one of the strongest in the past half century, and precipitation would be above average in the southern and central regions of the state.
On the other hand, the oceanic agency wasn’t able to be more specific on what exactly it will happen with the northern regions, which host the state’s largest reservoirs. Higher-than-normal temperatures would force winter precipitation to fall as rain rather than snow.
But the Golden State needs to replenish its mountain snowpack in Sierra Nevada if it wants to say good riddance to the historic drought. Snowpack can gradually refill reservoirs and keep water flowing in rivers and canals during spring and summer months.
Mike Halpert, head of the NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, believes that winter forecasts ‘looks good’ for California. But he added that El Niño may bring (some) drought relief to California, not drought ‘removal.’
Weather forecasters expect the heaviest rainfalls to occur in January.
Halpert recently told reports that one wet winter was not enough to remedy the Golden State’s water deficit. The state needs thrice as much precipitation as it would normally get in one winter to get rid of drought for good. The most humid winter in its history brought only twice as much precipitation.
“One season of above-average rain and snow is unlikely to erase four years of drought,”
In the meantime, Californians try to meet mandated water conservation goals. While some districts managed to cut water use by up to 40 percent this summer, others lagged behind with only 25 percent.
Authorities explained that it is hard to convince residents to let their trees and shrubs unwatered, after many of them watched their lawns die. Officials noted that even the most water-responsible Californians still water their outdoor plants to prevent them from dying from the unusual heat.
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