Climatologist Calls La Nina Winter

October snow makes us feel like winter has come to town and will deliver a hefty snowpack, but climatologists have a different view.

Hopefully some of that drama will be repeated frequently in coming months. Dr. Dan Cayan, climatologist from Scripps Institute in San Diego, generally has a view on what we might expect for the winter. Cayan, like other forecasters, says the Pacific Ocean is cool and forming what is known as the La Nina effect which is generally opposite from El Nino.

Dr. Cayan said that conditions may shape up a modest La Nina, not a strong one. The results of this, Cayan said, would be wet conditions in the northwest and dry conditions in the southwest. The Eastern Sierra lies in the middle.

Cayan said that “every event is different. You can’t be precise, but this will probably not be one of those winters that brings a bountiful water supply.

As for Inyo-Mono, Cayan underscored that we are the kind of dividing line for California, so it’s hard to say. He did note that the southwestern United States will experience normal or below normal winter conditions.

The 2008 Farmer’s Almanac seems to ditto Cayan’s theory. The Almanac shows the northwest winter as mild and wet and mild and dry in the southwest. Inyo-Mono sits right on the dividing line.

Winter? Waiting game.


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