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La Niña Drier Winter Still Expected Despite Recent Rain

Audio

Aired 10/20/10

The recent wet weather in San Diego County have some people wondering what happened to the La Niña forecast of a drier winter. But forecasters say don't let the Fall rain fool you.

The recent wet weather in San Diego County have some people wondering what happened to the La Niña forecast of a drier winter. But forecasters say don't let the Fall rain fool you.

During La Nina, the waters off of South America are cooler than normal. As shown here, red is warmer than normal and blue is cooler than normal. During the La Nina event, the cool waters extend well into the Pacific Ocean.
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Above: During La Nina, the waters off of South America are cooler than normal. As shown here, red is warmer than normal and blue is cooler than normal. During the La Nina event, the cool waters extend well into the Pacific Ocean.

The La Niña weather pattern usually means below average rainfall in the winter.

Forecaster Stefanie Sullivan with the National Weather Service in San Diego said some La Niña years bring average or slightly above average rain in the Fall.

"And then what happens is it really starts to dry out beginning in January or so," said Sullivan. "So the October through December time period (we) usually have around normal precipitation and then January through March is when it really drops below normal and we end up below normal for the season."

La Niña is a natural periodic cycle that usually brings less rain to Southern California but increases the rain in the Pacific Northwest.

Sullivan said the upside of the recent rain in San Diego County is a short-term decrease in fire risk.

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