The latest U.S. winter outlook spells trouble for dry California: Dry, dry, dry.
That’s as much as any state in the West will see in the coming year. After several recent warm years in California, 2018 has been the second wettest period on record in the United States in terms of the amount of rain, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center’s Climate Extremes Group.
“This year has been much more normal in terms of average,” said Bob Schieffer, director for the Climate Prediction Center’s Extremes Group at NOAA’s headquarters in Washington.
More rain is usually good for California. For one, the state receives more than 20 percent of its annual streamflow from the storms, according to NOAA. The storms, though, are a double-edged sword.
They bring water, but they also bring wildfire, heavy snow, ice, and cold temperatures.
While the storms brought plenty of water to California during 2017 and 2018, they coincided with the worst drought on record in the state for 2017. The National Drought Monitor says that as of November 1, California was already in its “worst season for drought since the state adopted its federal plan for state water from the 1950s through the 1960s in 1965-67.”
The winter outlook for the state, according to the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, is one of the worst in recent decades:
It predicts that California will see only 12 percent more sunshine and about 7 inches of precipitation during the winter than the same time last year. That compares to a 21 percent more sunshine and about 11 inches more precipitation for the same time last year.
And the winter outlook has a whole lot of dry season coming:
The winter is expected to be the driest season on record in California, with a precipitation deficit of 2.6 inches for the winter compared with the wettest season in the past 60 years, according to the Climate Prediction Center. Rainfall on average is projected to be 13 percent below the average for the season and more than 3 inches below the wettest season on record.
Why is the climate prediction center so bullish on California’s