Has El Niño forgotten California?

Map of sea surface temperature anomaly in the Pacific Ocean during the 2015-16 El Niño

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. – Drought stricken California is in desperate need for rain, but so far El Niño hasn’t brought much relief!

So, where is El Niño?

“El Niño has delivered as advertised almost everywhere on the planet except California,” said Bill Patzert, NASA Climatologist.

Patzert has been tracking the El Nino phenomenon for decades. What he and the other experts at JPL have found though — is a surprisingly resilient high pressure system that is stuck over California.

“We don’t really understand totally why it’s been sitting there, but it’s been deflecting a lot of our rain,” said NASA climate scientist Josh Willis.

There may still be hope for more El Niño-influenced rain in California, though. This El Niño hit its peak much later than the last big event back in 1997 and 1998, which means there’s still time. Rain could pick up in March, April, and maybe even in May.

Rainfall in the Central Savannah River Area has been a little behind average so far in 2016, but we had plenty of rain back in the fall and early winter that may have been influenced by El Niño.

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