El Niño's Potential For Rain Uncertain
Federal officials predict an El Niño year, which could mean a wet winter for California. What isn't clear is just how much rain the weather pattern will bring.
State Climatologist Elissa Lynn says it is too soon to say what affect an El Niño cycle will have on California's water supply or flood potential.
She says a strong El Niño is needed to bring a wetter-than-normal year.
But Lynn says El Niño is not the only climate signal that has an impact on California winters.
And we can have wet years unrelated to El Niño.
Lynn says in a strong El Niño, the big storms bring more rain to coastal and southern California areas.
But they don't cause large snowstorms in the Sierra, and it's Sierra snow pack that provides long-term water storage.