Nov 10, 2016

La Niña has arrived, with little rain in store for Southern California

by
Bettina Boxall
,
LA Times
The weather pattern known as La Niña brings wetter weather to the Pacific Northwest but drier conditions to Southern California. Image: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The weather pattern known as La Niña brings wetter weather to the Pacific Northwest but drier conditions to Southern California. Image: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

La Niña has officially arrived, with mixed messages for California.

If the weather phenomenon behaves as expected, the Pacific Northwest and far Northern California will enjoy a wetter than normal winter, while the southern swath of the state will remain dry.

Federal climate scientists on Thursday declared La Niña conditions, saying they lacked strength and would probably last only a few months.

“The weak La Niña is likely to contribute to persisting or developing drought across much of the southern U.S. this winter," said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Characterized by a cooling of sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, La Niña triggers atmospheric changes that generally favor below-average precipitation and above-average temperatures in the country’s southern band. That is bad news for the Southland, which missed out on last winter’s El Niño rains that eased the drought in much of California.