Much of California got some light rain and even snow at the higher elevations of the Sierra Monday. Rain and snow was heaviest in the I-80 corridor area with Squaw Valley posting that they have 10 inches of new snow. The RenoNWS posted this shot of the Sierra above the city.This first sprinkle of the season does not ease drought fears but does create some hope that the barn door is open for more storms.
Most of mid-California got only a few hundreds of an inch but other places really got wet. Mariposa saw 3/4 of an inch and Ash Mountain above Three Rivers saw 0.42.
In the coastal S2S reading area some areas of SLO saw up to 0.40 says forecaster John Lindsey. Arroyo Grande got a third of an inch and Los Osos around 0.20inch.
So what’s the outlook for winter as November approaches?
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says we are in for an ENSO neutral winter meaning neither an El Nino or La Nina pattern. That makes is hard to predict how much rain to expect. Even chances they say.
SLO’s John Lindsey is predicting San Luis Obispo will get 10 to 15 inches. He cites others who suggest bellow average precipitation while the Farmer’s Almanac says look for a wetter than average winter.
On guy who sticks his neck out is Alan Fox,a private forecaster for agriculture who predicted the timing of this Monday’s storm some weeks ago( and last year’s early wet pattern) and offers some hope for November.
He wrote early this month “The current SSTA pattern supports development of wet conditions in north-central and northern California in November.”
For the southern California avocado region he offers “November 1 to 15 – Southern California Avocado Region… The pattern is currently dry and models are not yet showing a shift to wetter conditions. Given the normal pattern in early to mid November, and the current SSTA pattern which is favorable to troughs and rain into northern California, we cautiously suggest a return to at least some showers into southern California from the 1st to the 3rd and again from the 12th to the 15th.”
“Seasonal Outlook/El Niño Update – November 15 to January 31…The latest ENSO forecast guidance from Scripps shows a gradual increase in El Niño conditions from December through April. El Niño conditions consist of a stronger southern jet stream into central and southern California, a more consistent series of storms moving into southern portions of California, and more consistent rainfall.
The month with the greatest potential for consistent rains in California would be the last week of November and in December from the 3rd to 10th, 18th to 23rd, and 27th to 30th. In December, the El Niño influence may still increase, so southern California should receive some more rains during at least some of those periods due to a more consistent southern storm track.
In January, we expect a break in the rains, possibly lasting a week or two, as the longwave trough deepens in the central U.S. and the central Pacific with less troughing at the California coast. January 2014 still appears to have lower ENSO contribution to drive the southern storm track than in December or in February/March 2014.
Scripps ECPC shows a smaller influence from El Niño during December and January than during February, March, and April. During the latter period, such activity should increase and cause more cool troughing over central and southern California. In this scenario, troughing would also be expected to include the southern deserts and cause showers and above normal rainfall.”
A wet early winter does not mean a wet year. ”Last winter, November and December storms were potent and generous, briefly leading to expectations of a wet winter.Those hopes dried out quickly when the storm door swung shut in January and remained locked fairly firmly through springtime”notes the newsletter of the Friant Water District posting a picture of cattle walking over a dry Sierra lakebed.( CLICK PIC TO ENLARGE)