Wednesday October 25, 2023

Las Vegas Sun

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting higher-than-usual rainfall for parts of Nevada, California and Arizona this winter, but that rainfall isn’t expected to translate to gains in the water level at Lake Mead, regional climate experts said.

El Niño’s southern oscillation cycle began changing weather patterns this month and will continue through the winter to bring wetter conditions to the southern United States, said Jon Gottschalck, the operational prediction branch chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

There’s a 75% to 85% chance of a strong El Niño this winter, making it the dominant factor determining the U.S. winter climate, Gottschalck said at a news conference last week detailing the winter outlook. Gottschalck also said warmer-than-average conditions were expected in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and parts of New England.

El Niño is “a warming of the ocean surface, or above-average sea surface temperatures, in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean,” according to the United States Geological Survey. The weather phenomenon last occurred in 2019 after three consecutive years of La Niña, which takes place when those surface temperatures are cooler than average.

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