Central Coast

Dear Jon update: Weather service says EL Nino slow to develop

El Nino is shaping up but big questions about rainfall totals

Dear Jon: Strong El Nino this year?

1982-83 and 1997-98 were categorized by the National Weather Service as ‘strong' El Nino rainy seasons in California. But as most of California remains in a drought and with water conservations measures now in place, our Chief Meteorologist Norm Hoffman may not have the answer you're hoping for.

Hoffman says a strong El Nino for this winter is not likely, "It doesn't look like it's developing in the same manner that the El Nino in 82/83, 97/98 did. None of it is as strong as it was before."

And that's proving to be true. The latest from the NWS as of October 25, is that the chance of an EL Nino is 60-65 percent. Hoffman reminds us that whether we have an El Nino or not, that event may not impact rainfall totals here on the Central Coast.

The latest predictions for precipitation for November through January 2015 are for equal chances for above or below rainfall. Given the dryness of the recent past, you could look at that as good news.

Hoffman says, "El Nino developed nicely in June, however, in August it started getting colder which doesn't look good. It's fragmented."

That could change since the ocean water in Monterey bay continues to be warmer this year and that's good, but according to Hoffman, "This one looks like it will be a weak El Nino or a weak to moderate El Nino."

So as we hope for more rain this year, what will quench our collective thirst in this drought?

"Well, we need to get the jet steam back over the top of California." Hoffman says, "Because last year it went way north into British Columbia, then dove into the Midwest where they got colder than normal weather into May and June this year. So what we've got to do is break down that pattern, plus the warm sea surface temperatures over the eastern Pacific, and that may break down that pattern this year and bring us normal rain fall."

Forecasters are providing summaries on this every week. Hoffman says the jet stream is moving in our direction. We're expecting rain over the Halloween weekend.

Will this open the storm door?

NOAA's latest outlook, which is updated each week, is for El Nino to develop in the next 1-2 months and continue through Spring of 2015. As for rainfall, still no definitive word about what we can expect.

Time will tell, what the weather will be. Let's hope it'll be on the wet side.

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You can email me at DearJon@KIONRightNow.com.

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