A U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday said La Niña conditions are predicted to continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2017-18. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), an agency of the National Weather Service, in a monthly forecast pegged the chance of La Nina developing at about 80 percent, with a transition to ENSO-neutral most likely during the mid-to-late spring.
Archive for date: December 14th, 2017
You are now in California and the U.S. category.
When I first moved to California from Ohio in the 1990s, I spotted a postcard in a gift shop that noted the state’s four seasons: wildfires, mudslides, earthquakes and riots. The postcard wasn’t entirely wrong. Outside of drought years, the state does suffer through a regular cycle of fires, slides and earthquakes, although the riots aren’t actually a seasonal thing. Californians are accustomed to the state’s weather disasters the same way a Kansan is accustomed to tornado drills.
In a new report on the state’s water priorities, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) offered the nation some guidance on how it might address issues that are burdening regions all over the country. “This past year was a prime example of California’s highly variable climate — and a precursor of the types of extremes that are expected to become more common,” the report reads. “After five years of drought exacerbated by record heat, 2017’s record rain and snow brought more challenges — stressing dams and levees, causing landslides, and adding fuel to fire-prone landscapes.”
WHEN THE DUST RISES IN NORTH SHORE, a small farmworker town at the edge of the Salton Sea, Jacqueline Pozar’s nose often starts to bleed. Then her teacher at Saul Martinez Elementary School in nearby Mecca calls her mom, Maria, and asks her to come pick up her daughter. Jacqueline is seven years old. “I feel really bad because I can’t do anything for her,” Maria Pozar says.
From this vantage point, the deck of a cargo ship skims by above, beyond the fragile levee wall that holds back the mighty San Joaquin River. It passes effortlessly through the wide flat river that, due to the levee and the perspective, is completely out of view on a crisp winter morning. With the ship’s submerged propeller probably somewhere around forehead-level, this perspective would normally require immersion in the relevant body of water — no place for a few wetland engineers and scientists like us.
The Sierra snow pack for this year is lower than it was previously. This year appears to have the lowest amount of snowfall in the past three years. However, in one month, from Dec. 2016 to Jan. 2017 the snow pack exploded to its highest level in the last three years. This could be a sign of hope for resorts that things can change quickly.
Memories of perpetual blue sky and months on end without rain faded quickly after last winter’s drought-busting storms. But with a bone-dry December and a good chance of sunshine well into the New Year, many Californians are getting flashbacks.