Yesterday NOAA released a climate prediction for the upcoming year and if all goes according to the models, the Southwest may be in for a much-needed period of heavy precipitation this upcoming winter.
The findings, which portray short-term and long term effects of a Strong El Nino phenomenon building in the Pacific, support earlier predictions that indicate a wetter than normal summer/fall for the southwest and a dryer than normal summer/fall for the Pacific Northwest. However, these predictions are beginning to move toward the winter of 2015/2016 and if the projections are correct, the El Nino trend will continue until the spring of 2016.
Here is the NOAA Synopsis:
There is a greater than 90% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere fall 2015, and around an 85% chance it will last through the 2015-16 winter.
Consequently, it’s great news for Tahoe and the state of California. During 3 out of the last 5 strong El Nino events, Tahoe received significantly larger than average snowfall totals.
However, like all predictions, these models are susceptible to unseen and unpredictable meteorological factors. El Nino by no means guarantees a 500+ inch winter, however it does make the chances better. And at this point, we’ll take what we can get. That said, words like these from NOAA are always easy on the eyes: “Nearly all models predict El Niño to continue throughout 2015.”
If you’re a meteorological buff, you can read the full NOAA report here.