Tuesday, January 18

Long dry spell coming?

The blue in the center of this graphic is cold water moving from left to right, causing a condition called La Niña

Good news/bad news: We are in a La Niña weather pattern this winter. Usually, an El Niño period causes an increase in rain and snow to fall here in California, and La Niña brings a lack of precipitation. It would seem that since we have been inundated with tons of rain and snow so far this season, way above average, we dodged the bullet.

But it turns out that strong early-season storms often occur during a La Niña, with the lack of rain coming later in the season. A neighbor of ours in the High Sierra says that you can predict what’s going to happen weather-wise in the summer by what happens in January: Lots of rain in January means lots of rain in the summer. So far this January we’ve had little rain; most of it came in December.

I’m reminded of the joke where a forest ranger, new to the district, asks an old Indian (native American to my Bay Area and East Coast readers) what he thinks the weather will be like for the upcoming winter.

“Long winter. Cold, very cold,” the Indian replies.

“How can you tell that?” asks the young ranger.

The old man intones, darkly, “White man putting up much firewood.”

Illustration: Wikimedia Commons

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