Chance for an El Nino winter growing in California

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A new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says Pacific Ocean surface temperatures continue to warm near the equator – setting up what could be one of the most powerful El Nino’s on record. There is now a 90 percent chance that El Nino conditions will last into winter, up from a 50 percent chance four months ago.flooding

El Nino’s affect the jet stream, creating an atmospheric anomaly that can impact weather patterns around the globe. They are often associated with higher-than average rainfall in the southwestern U.S, including California.

Whether that translates into drought-busting rainfall remains to be seen – but hopes are as high as they have been in years for the possibility of a wet winter to come. This year’s El Nino has already helped Texas beat back its drought. Scientists say the conditions are reminiscent of the winter of 1997-98, when a series of wet storms pounded the state, dumping nearly twice California’s average rainfall.spring-storm

In the past, El Ninos have also brought flooding, mudslides, dangerous surf and other minor catastrophes to the state. But here’s guessing that’s a risk most California would be willing to accept if it helps bring an end to the drought.