How Bad Will California’s Winter Be? Weather Outlook for North and South

El Niño has arrived, and the climate pattern is likely to bring above-average moisture to the southern U.S. this winter.

El Niño is one of two climate patterns that greatly impact Earth’s weather. La Niña recently culminated in the spring, ending a multiyear period in which the pattern influenced the weather. El Niño started in June, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) most recent update has identified El Niño as having high odds of being historically strong.

That means parts of California could see another wet winter, a welcome weather pattern as many of the state’s lakes and reservoirs continue to recover from a years-long drought. But an El Niño year doesn’t guarantee excess moisture in Southern California.