What La Niña Means For California Drought

For California, the onset of winter means the start of our rainy season, at least relatively speaking. No matter how much precipitation...


For California, the onset of winter means the start of our rainy season, at least relatively speaking.

No matter how much precipitation California is going to receive in a year, most of it typically falls between December and March. And given the severity of the continuing drought in our condition, the amount of rain we are getting this winter couldn’t be more.

A recent perspective from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggests that the northern and southern halves of the state could experience divergent water fortunes this winter because of something you may already be familiar with: La Niña.

Like its climatological cousin El Niño, the girl is a meteorological phenomenon that originates in the Pacific Ocean but can affect the whole world. La Niña typically means drier, warmer conditions in the southern half of the United States and wetter weather in the northern half.

Scientists predict that La Niña this winter will bring below-average precipitation across much of California, stretching from the Bay Area to the southern border of the state. They expect warmer than average temperatures for southern California and the eastern parts of central California.

These hot and dry conditions are obviously bad news after our hottest summer on record and before seeing the end of the fire season.

But north of the Bay Area, where the drought is the most extreme, things look more promising.

The region sits in a “man-less zone” where past La Niñas have brought a wide variety of fates – hotter, drier, colder, warmer and average winters – Jon Gottschalck, Head of the Operational Forecasting Branch from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, told me. It is therefore difficult to know how this year will unfold.

Yet even with this uncertainty, the Climate Center predicts that drought is likely to improve north of the Bay Area this winter. The rest of the state is expected to experience worsening drought conditions.

These forecasts are based on analyzes of what happened in the past as well as on climate models. The important thing to remember is that there are no guarantees.

In the winter of 2016-17, as California struggled with a severe drought, La Niña conditions emerged. Unexpectedly, California got so much rain that after six years, the state declared the drought over.

  • UC strike: More than 6,000 non-tenured faculty members at nine University of California campuses plan to leave work Wednesday and Thursday, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

  • The country’s abortion provider: California braces for an influx of patients from other states seeking abortions, The Los Angeles Times reports.

  • Amazon Regulation: The company has agreed to pay $ 500,000 and be transparent about Covid-19 cases among employees, Associated Press reports.

  • Oil spill response: State officials said they are working to improve their response to oil spills in an effort to avoid serious damage, Associated Press reports.

SOUTH CALIFORNIA

  • Hollywood union contracts: The International Alliance of Theater Workers has ratified new contracts with Hollywood studios, but the the margin was narrow.

  • Deaf football team: The Cubs, the California School for the Deaf college football team in Riverside, are undefeated this season, lifting the school and the surrounding community.

  • Highest Paid School Administrator in California: James Hammond, Ontario-Montclair School District Superintendent, traded his sick leave for $ 167,596 in extra pay, Associated Press reports.

  • No more plastic utensils: Los Angeles restaurant patrons will only get plastic utensils and napkins if they request them, under an order that came into effect Monday, Associated Press reports.

CENTRAL CALIFORNIA

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

  • Agreement with Kaiser pharmacists: The health network has reached an agreement with pharmacists in northern California, Associated Press reports.

  • Marijuana License Withholding: Growing licenses for El Dorado County marijuana growers are on hold at the sheriff’s office for background checks, Sacramento Bee Reports.

  • Return of Chinook Salmon: Although severe weather tested the species’ survival, chinook salmon returned to Sonoma Creek to spawn, Democratic press reports.


Across California, $ 1.8 million from homes.


Today’s travel tip comes from Ahna Heller, a reader who lives in Davis. Ahna recommends Jenner, a small town on the Sonoma Coast:

“Once in Jenner, my husband and I have a snack at Café Aquatica, then launch our tandem kayak into the Russian River and up the river until we agree it’s time to head back to the ocean. It is a beautiful and peaceful journey back to the Pacific; we park the kayak in a safe cove away from the seals and go for a walk, taking the time to peek into the driftwood cabin on Goat Rock beach.

If this is a special occasion, we could have a reservation at the River’s End restaurant and enjoy a great meal and the amazing view of the Russian River and the ocean. Gorgeous!”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.


On a whim, Mike Pak posted on his Instagram account in 2016 a meeting between a running club in Koreatown, Los Angeles.

Pak had never raced before and was amazed when 20 people showed up for the race. He was even more surprised when, in the end, someone asked him when the next one would be.

“We looked at each other a little confused, and we were like, ‘Oh yeah, at the same time next week'” Pak told the Los Angeles Times.

Now the club takes place five times a week in Koreatown. And it’s arguably the coolest running club in town.


Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. – Soumya

PS here today’s mini-crosswords, and a hint: An ambitious way to solve a printed crossword (5 letters).

Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can join the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

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