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Did Forecasters Overestimate El Nino Rains?

It’s not just you. Even weather forecasters are wondering, “Where’s all the rain from El Nino?”
San Diego’s Lindbergh Field has recorded 6.06 inches of precipitation this season, about average for this date. There are no major storms in the forecast through Wednesday. And the region has been experiencing one of the warmest Februarys on record.

Did forecasters overestimate the impact of one of the largest El Ninos on record?

Drought Tracker Update: Warm Winter Stalls Snowpack Growth

That “Godzilla” El Niño must have taken a nap this week.
Warm temperatures and clear skies have kept California dry. The latest numbers from the KPBS Drought Tracker show statewide rain and snowfall not budging over the past week — the snowpack has even decreased slightly in some areas due to melting.

As of Thursday morning, the state had received 76 percent of the rain that normally falls between Oct. 1 and April 1. That’s the same number observed last week, bending the seasonal rainfall curve flat for the past seven days. The average Sierra snowpack measurement was at 78 percent of the seasonal normal, just barely up from 77 percent the week before.

Feinstein Water Policy Bill Could Signal a Compromise in Sight

Sen. Dianne Feinstein filed a 184-page water policy bill Wednesday, calling it one of the most difficult bills she’s worked on in 23 years representing California.

“This is the hardest thing I’ve done, because you look for the sweet spot, the balance, and it’s very difficult because it’s very polarized,” Feinstein said. “There are some that don’t want anything and there are some that want much more.”

CCM Responds to Introduction of Feinstein Water Bill

Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a revised drought relief water bill that puts California one step closer to comprehensive water policy reform, according to California Citrus Mutual (CCM) President Joel Nelsen.

“The introduction of the California Long-Term Provisions for Water Supply and Short-Term Provisions for Emergency Drought Relief Act by Senator Dianne Feinstein identifies several paths by which California can improve its water infrastructure and create a more reliable water system for all water users,” says Nelsen.  “Everybody wants something.  Most want to help people and the environment as well as sustain the production of food and fiber. But, the stakeholders who are singularly focused have been an impediment to improving California’s water crisis.”

Strong El Niño Will Weaken and Could Transition to La Niña This Fall, NOAA Says

El Niño is forecast to weaken through the spring with conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean potentially transitioning to La Niña next fall, according to the latest monthly outlook issued Thursday by NOAA.

Sea-surface water temperatures (SST) in the equatorial east and central Pacific Ocean were still well above average during January, indicating strong El Niño conditions remained in place. Water temperatures appeared to reach their peak in mid-November, but have been cooling slowly the last couple of months, according to fine-resolution weekly SST data from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

Drought Tip: Build up That Personal Water Bank

Many water users had hoped that February would be the final month for water budgets. However, the use of water budgets continues. The next review will be April 1 when the state looks again at the amount of snow in the mountains.

Customers of California Water Service in Chico and Oroville may notice they have a box on their bill that states: “water bank.” When a customer does not use the full amount of water allowed each month under the current water budgets, the extra water goes into a “water bank.” Customers may want to use those units of water later this year, when the weather is extremely hot.