Does La Niña Mean A Drier, Shorter Winter For Southern California?
La Niña is back.
It’s been a couple of years since satellites and buoys detected the mass of cold water forming along the equator. National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Tardy said when you average out the effect of La Niñas over the last few decades, they tend to indicate we’re in for less precipitation than what we’d get in an average winter.
But, La Niñas can also bring surprises. Tardy pointed to the winters of 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. The former was wet, the latter dry. So, why even bother to take note of a La Niña?
Tardy said it can help to inform the big picture.
“It gives us an indication, rather than just flipping a coin, which you don’t want to do cause you want to add some value, it gives some value to the forecast,” he said.
Value, not certainty.
As for El Ninos, Tardy said it’s also a matter of averages. More often than not, they mean a wet winter, but not always.