Uncertain How El Nino Will Affect The Drought


Last updated 9/18/2015 at 2:24pm

Photo from sealevel.jpl.nasa.gov

1997's El Niño was another record-breaking year.

The National Weather Service released its monthly update today as meteorologists projected this year's El Niño as one of the biggest on record. Still, we are told, it probably won't matter how much water it brings because California's four-year Drought has so far to go to bring its reservoirs back to normal. El Niños cause a redistribution of heat in the Pacific, which brings out of the norm weather, including hurricanes, flooding and huge storms. In August the National Weather Service recorded at least 2 degree increases in water temperatures off South America- making this El Niño the third strongest on record, taking into account that heat redistribution factor. We should see the impacts starting about a month from now. California's wettest El Niño was in 1983, which brought nine times the annual average rainfall. The state now needs at least that much precipitation to return its reservoirs to normal. If the rains come early and last long, California will have a chance to restock its water. Many are also hoping the rains will intercept the dry conditions of late fall that often herald Santa Ana winds and fire season.