We need water, that's an understatement. Several dry years in row and you’d think we’re due for a ‘gully washer.’ Russ messaged me on Facebook and asked, “Dear Jon, Is the coming El Nino going to be as strong as the 82-83 season?”
1982-83 and 1997-98 were categorized by the National Weather Service as ‘strong’ El Nino rainy seasons in California. But as most of California remains in an 'exceptional drought'; with water conservations measures now in place; our Chief Meteorologist Norm Hoffman may not have the answer you're hoping for.
Hoffman says a strong El Nino for this winter is not likely, “It doesn't look like it's developing in the same manner that the El Nino in 82/83, 97/98 did. None of it is as strong as it was before.”
One reason is the cooling of the Pacific Ocean, “El Nino developed nicely in June, however, in the last week it started getting colder which doesn't look good. It's fragmented.”
That could change since the ocean water in Monterey bay continues to be warmer this year and that's good, but according to Hoffman, “This one looks like it will be a weak El Nino or a weak to moderate El Nino and that means it will probably not affect our precipitation here on the Central Coast.”
So as we hope for more rain this year, what will quench our collective thirst in this drought?
“Well, we need to get the jet steam back over the top of California.” Hoffman says, “Because last year it went way north into British Columbia, then dove into the Midwest where they got colder than normal weather into May and June this year. So what we've got to do is break down that pattern, plus the warm sea surface temperatures over the eastern Pacific, and that may break down that pattern this year and bring us normal rain fall.”
Forecasters are watching this closely. Hoffman says we'll get better idea on the strength of this El Nino by September and October.
NOAA’s outlook, that was just released, is still iffy for a wet rainy season on the Central Coast.
Time will tell.
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