Lake Mead Water Levels Hit a Rare Milestone

After steadily climbing all year, Lake Mead’s water levels have hit an unexpected milestone.

How California’s Reservoirs Will Change After Atmospheric River Hits

California will escape much of the rainfall from an incoming atmospheric river, but the storm will still benefit some of the state’s reservoirs.

How Snowfall Will Change Lake Mead’s Water Levels

An El Niño winter snowfall map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted more good news for Lake Mead.

After years of drought the lake, located in Nevada and Arizona, reached drastically low levels in the summer of 2022. However, water levels have since started to recover because of above-average precipitation and snowpack that melted throughout this year. As of Wednesday afternoon, its levels were at 1,065 feet, 20 feet higher than this time last year.

Expanded Tool Visualizes Historical Drought Conditions by County, State

The “Dust Bowl” drought of the 1930s brought nearly a decade of dry conditions to the Great Plains, causing many farmers to flee their lands and livelihoods. Looking further back, tree-ring and lake-sediment records indicate that “megadroughts” have occurred in North America over the last thousand years. By looking back at historical data, communities can get a better understanding of how current droughts compare to past events and drought and extreme weather threats to be prepared for.

Forecasters Predict Another Wetter-Than-Average Winter on the Way for Central California

The Central Sierra Nevada and the rest of Central California could see another wetter-than-average winter, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in its U.S. Winter Outlook for December through February.

A winter outlook map for precipitation, released Thursday, shows wetter-than-average conditions are most likely in areas that include parts of Central California and Nevada.

Despite a Wet El Niño Forecast for Southern Nevada, Lake Mead Unlikely to See Water Level Rise

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting higher-than-usual rainfall for parts of Nevada, California and Arizona this winter, but that rainfall isn’t expected to translate to gains in the water level at Lake Mead, regional climate experts said.

El Niño’s southern oscillation cycle began changing weather patterns this month and will continue through the winter to bring wetter conditions to the southern United States, said Jon Gottschalck, the operational prediction branch chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

A Warm, Wet El Niño Winter is in Store for California and Much of the U.S.

After a blistering summer of record heat, raging wildfires and unpredictable storms, federal scientists on Thursday said a warm, wet winter driven by El Niño is in store for California and much of the rest of the country.

The first winter outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that a strong El Niño will remain in place through at least the spring, with further strengthening possible over the next couple of months.

Phoenix Experienced Its Hottest and Driest Summer on Record

Phoenix experienced its hottest summer on record with an average temperature of 97 degrees — more than 3 degrees warmer than the 30-year average between 1991 and 2020, per an analysis of NOAA data.

Developing ‘Super’ El Niño Could Match California’s Great Deluge of 1997-98

Current El Niño conditions appear likely to become comparable to the “great” El Niño of 1997-98, according to an experimental prediction system used by the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Atmospheric Research.

“Our forecast system has shown that it can do a remarkably good job of accurately hindcasting past El Niño events when we’ve tested it using historical data, which gives us high confidence in this forecast,” said NCAR scientist Stephen Yeager, who helped lead the modeling effort.

El Niño Set to Strengthen This Winter, What Does It Mean for Northern California?

El Niño conditions continue to strengthen and some may see the return of an active winter. But could Northern California see any impacts?

In a recent El Niño forecast by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there is a greater than 95% chance that El Niño continues across the Northern Hemisphere through the winter into 2024. The chance of a “strong” El Niño has also increased from 66% in August to now 71% in September.