The latest U.S. winter outlook spells trouble for dry California (and for people seeking the rainiest spot in the nation).
If you think California’s record-breaking drought is the worst for the last several years, you might want to take a look at the latest winter outlook from NOAA, which predicts that California will see more rain than the state receives in an entire year (if the U.S. averages its precipitation over the next few months).
The outlook is based on a simple analysis of winter outlooks from state weather offices, and it is based on the assumption that more precipitation won’t materialize for weeks and weeks on end.
If that’s right, it will make for a very wet winter for California.
It turns out that in 2012, the last year for which reliable data is available, the state received about 37 percent of the precipitation it received during the entire year.
Based on the model, the state last received more precipitation than it received the entire year in February 2012.
The model also assumes that the next four months will see a normal or near-normal pattern of high pressure over California, which could result in a big increase in rain.
That’s not necessarily a good thing for the Golden State unless it was a very wet winter in which case the state might not have been able to sustain itself. In an extremely wet winter, California usually does get a little higher than usual.
But the forecast also assumes that all of 2013 will have a normal or near-normal pattern of high pressure over California. That would mean less rain to come in 2013.
The model says, as of February 15, no more than about half of the projected 3 to 5 inches of precipitation for the year will show up over California. That is based on the assumption that the next four months will have a normal or near-normal pattern of high pressure over the state of California. So far, the model says, that pattern has been in force since November.
So the outlook says the winter of 2013 will be the wettest