Chances for La Niña event in Central California increasing, experts say

Brittany Jacob Image
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
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The Central Valley is currently in an exceptional drought and now, Californians should buckle up for an increased chance of La Niña.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Central Valley is currently in an exceptional drought and now, Californians should buckle up for an increased chance of La Niña.

According to the National Weather Service, La Niña is here and she's not going anywhere any time soon.

Steven Haugen is the Watermaster at the Kings River Water Association - the organization responsible for administering and allocating water in the Central Valley.

He says, "When the sea surface temperatures are less than a half of a degree below average, they call it a La Niña."

Action News Meteorologist Madeline Evans explains what this means for Central California.

"The probabilities are looking higher and higher that we are going to settle right back into La Niña. We've seen that the past three years and that's almost unheard of. We've really only seen three consecutive years of La Niña, about two on record. It's pretty rare and it also adds to the drought effects we've seen here in California," Evans explains.

Haugen agrees that yet another dry year is likely.

"Our drier years tend to be our La Niña years, our driest years tend to be La Niña years, our wettest years tend to be El Niño years. So when we do have those years, they tend to be extremes," he says.

Haugen says this region has already had two very dry years, so with a potential third year looming, dry conditions could reduce the amount of water stored in the Central Valley reservoirs and increase the wildfire risk.

"It impacts the actual water that's in the mountains that are feeding the creeks and streams in the upper watersheds, and that just creates broader challenges," he says.

Haugen reminds you to continue to make wise decisions and be responsible with your water.

He says, "With La Niña in the forecast, it would be prudent to plan for a drier year. It's not to say that it will be dry, but planning for it is probably the prudent thing to do."

For more information about La Niña Advisories, click here.