Is it time to get out the rain boots? Not just yet, weather experts say.
Based on conditions shaping up in the Pacific Ocean, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s latest forecast calls for a 55 percent to 60 percent chance of a La Niña weather phenomenon during the next “water year,” which begins Oct. 1.
What that means for the San Joaquin Valley is the possibility of a dry winter in the central and southern parts of the region, according to a recent article in Discover Magazine. In the Pacific Northwest and areas of the Midwest, that means a wetter than normal water year.
But you still may want to keep that rain gear nearby. As many remember, we’re coming off record rainfall in the Valley and a larger than normal snowpack in the Sierra, despite a La Niña year. The difference was the arrival of another weather event known as the “pineapple express” that pushed its way into the West Coast, carrying lots of tropical moisture.
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These “atmospheric rivers” provided relief for many parts of the state suffering from impact of a five-year drought. The Valley’s farmland and rangeland got a much needed drenching while skiers had plenty of snow into the summer months.
And for those winter recreationalists eagerly awaiting the return of the white stuff, take heart: Snowmaking has started at two resorts in Colorado with eyes on October openings and Mammoth Mountain in California – which barely shut down its snow runs in August – has announced an opening day of Nov. 9.