Despite numerous forecasts of a strong El Niño arriving this winter, sometimes the actual weather surprises us. For several weeks, the National Weather Service’s has forecast that there is a “… 95 percent chance El Niño will continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, gradually weakening through spring 2016.”
Yet chances are not certainties. For example, the Hill experienced a mild rain storm about two weeks ago, on Sept 15. Then a larger and more worthy storm was predicted to arrive Tuesday, Sept. 22. For several days prior to that storm, the forecast warned of a 70 to 80 percent chance of much rain and possible flash floods. Barely a drop of rain fell anywhere on the Hill.
The point is not that we should ignore weather forecasts, but sometimes the environment fools the models; the 20 to 30 percent negative chance sometimes turns up.
Residents should prepare for a very wet winter, not a drought-ending winter, but preparations should be taken now rather than after roads may become small streams.
The latest specific weather outlooks for the fall reports, “… strong and consistent signals … support an area of favored above-median precipitation from far Southern California … across the four-corners.”
Rainfall through September
The U.S. Forest Service’s Keenwild Ranger Station has recorded nearly 3.75 inches of rain since July 1, the start of the rain year. This is 50 percent more than the long-term average of 2.35 inches of rain through September.
Most of this rain came in July, when the precipitation was nearly five times the normal amount in July.
In Pine Cove, 4.6 inches have been recorded since July 1.
Even without any precipitation in October, the totals at Keenwild and Pine Cove still exceed the historic average for rain from July through October, which is 3.4 inches of rain.
Looking ahead, the Hill may have a greater normal wet winter, “from [December and January] into [February and March 2016], the chances of above-median seasonal precipitation totals increases for California …with probabilities exceeding 60 percent in parts of Southern California.”
Since the beginning of May, the Hill has received more than six inches of rain, which is almost four times the historic average of 1.6 inches for the three months from May through July.