A rare third year of La Niña is on deck for California, forecasters say in the third- to fourth-quarter weather report on Wednesday.
Forecasters expect a 90 percent chance that El Niño conditions will hold into the third quarter, according to the U.S. Climate Prediction Center’s weather outlook for the second quarter of this year, released Wednesday. The outlook notes that El Niño is now active for only the first of the year.
As a result, they expect more average warm water in the Pacific Ocean — a factor that could support higher ocean temperatures — and slightly more normal El Niño conditions than the year-ago quarter.
Los Angeles gets a high percentage of its annual rainfall during El Niño years, a fact that meteorologists say could give the region a boost during next year’s warming temperatures. But the same water supply can also cause trouble, with the El Niño forecast affecting the water quality of inland California rivers and other water sources.
Also, a dry spell caused by this year’s drought is expected to continue through the fourth quarter of the year, and then pick up again as January brings with it a return to El Niño conditions.
The weather report is issued every July, with forecasters expecting to keep it updated as the conditions that affect the state — including El Niño, El Niño conditions, and El Niño conditions — change.
“Forecast data indicate that the weather pattern for this year is very similar to the one that took place during the last El Niño year,” said John Lough, a seasonal forecast meteorologist with the California Department of Water Resources. “The key difference is the duration of the El Niño.”
This month’s forecast is similar to the one issued in June 2013. It anticipates an El Niño that goes into full swing by mid-July, with California expected to feel the impact of the conditions through the winter.
“We expect this year’s El Niño will be stronger than previous El Niño years,” Lough said. “The first half of the El Niño season is going to be similar to the first half of a normal La Niña year. It will be a gradual warming of the ocean surface waters and a gradual strengthening of the neutral conditions from the El Niño event. By the second half of the year, we expect El Niño conditions to become more prominent.”
The weather forecast is more optimistic than last year’s. The California climate-change adaptation agency, the California Climate Change Center, projects that the statewide average temperature