What the heck is going on with this La Niña?

Isn't it supposed to be cold and dry in SoCal during a La Niña, not wet and warm?

Craig Miller of KQED asks questions, and gets answers from the helpful Kevin Trenberth of NCAR:

"In La Niña conditions, which is what we have now, the main storms that come into North America come barreling into Washington, Oregon and British Columbia more," Trenberth told [Miller] in a phone interview.

But lately a persistent region of high pressure in the north Pacific is diverting storms south, into California. Trenberth says: "There’s a crapshoot or a random component to it, if you like, in the more northern latitudes, that’s adding some extra flavor to what’s going on, I think."

Speaking of crapshoots, in a recent interview Bill Patzert pointed out that in eighteen of the last twenty-two La Niñas, SoCal did experience drier, colder winters than normal. And Trenberth, for one, still expects us to regress to the mean.

He says this is considered a “strong” La Niña and is still likely to wield influence over the winter as a whole. One clue is ocean temperatures in the central-to-eastern Pacific, which are running 2 degrees C (3.5 F) below normal. "That only occurs—probably less than 10% of the time, so it’s a relatively rare event and certainly stronger than anything we’ve seen in recent years," said Trenberth.

Piece also included a great image of the Pinepple Express, in unexpected full bloom:


Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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