OUTLOOK FOR RAIN THIS WINTER
Just as southern California was being hit by it's first significant storm since last spring, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued their official winter weather outlook. The complete summary for the entire country by NOAA forecasters can be seen on the attached video. Through Tuesday night, Downtown L.A. (USC) has received just .54" of precipitation since the start of the rainfall season on July 1st. This is 1.27" BELOW the average season to date total of 1.81". This dry start comes after two consecutive below average seasons. The rainfall season here in southern California runs from July 1st through June 30th. The average total for Downtown L.A. (USC) for the entire season is 14.93".
So what type of weather can we expect as we head into winter? The Climate Prediction Center's precipitation outlook for December through February (see the image on the left) indicates that there is an "equal chance" of below average, above average or normal rainfall for our region. The same "equal chance" forecast was given for your temperatures. This season's forecast was challenging for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) meteorologists because strong climate signals and patterns are absent.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA/JPL) outlook on California's winter rains is consistent with the CPC forecast. Because the tropical equatorial Pacific temperatures are still running near average, anything can happen. When the waters are warmer than average (an El Niño), most winters in our region are wetter than average. Cooler than average ocean temperatures in the Pacific (a La Niña) usually results in a dry winter for southern California. Right now we are still locked in a "La Nada" pattern, or NEITHER of the two above phenomenon. Long range forecast models indicate that this neutral pattern over the Pacific will continue through the winter months.
Some of the wettest and driest years that we have experienced have occurred during La Nada patterns. Unfortunately, the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook (see the image on the left) is showing that drought conditions will persist across much of the state regardless of what happens. In Downtown L.A. (USC) only 8.69"of rain was recorded during the 2011-2012 season and just 5.85" last season.
I wish I had a more definitive forecast for you but this is how long range forecasting sometimes goes. Anything might happen this winter so stay tuned! Speaking of which, tune in for my complete daily forecasts Monday through Friday morning starting at 4:30am on FOX 11 or on our live stream here on myfoxla.com.
Certified Broadcast Meteorologist
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