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Strong La Niña Shaping Up Makes A Dry Winter More Likely

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La Niña is typically associated with drier conditions across Southern California. (FIONA MARTIN / NOAA)
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Today, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters said that there’s an 85% chance that we’ll experience La Niña from November to January.

That’s concerning because those latter months are some of the most crucial when it comes to rain in California, and moderate to strong La Niña’s are associated with drier weather, especially in the southern part of the state.

The last La Niña we experienced was back during the 2017-2018 rainy season, when the Thomas Fire – at the time the largest fire in state history – burned into January because of delayed rains. That year, our all-important snowpack was below average, and here in L.A. we saw less than five inches of rain.

As of right now, forecasters are saying that there’s a 60% chance that La Niña will continue from February through April.

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So does that mean there's guaranteed bad news when it comes to weather in the coming months?

No.

The entirety of our weather in the U.S. isn’t determined by La Niña, and there have been upsets in the past. 2016-2017 comes to mind. That was also a La Niña year, albeit a weak one, and California had its third wettest year on record.

But don’t be surprised if things remain dry, fire season stretches into January, and drought conditions continue to spread throughout California.

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