Monica Woods joined ABC10 in April 2001 as weekend meteorologist. In June 2011, she became ABC10’s Chief Meteorologist.

This is What a Weak La Niña Could Mean for California

  • Aug 12, 2016

This time of year many Californians start to wonder if we’ll have a wet or dry winter. The next rainy season is still over two months away, typically starting just after Halloween. Last year, we had a strong El Niño bringing hopes of a wet winter. Up next, a weak La Niña which typically brings drier weather to the Golden State.

Weak La Niña water

Rainfall anomalies during a weak La Niña in the northern Sierra Nevada.


Rain and snow fell short this past winter and spring of what many Californians were hoping for given a record strong El Niño in the tropical Pacific. This was more of a story for Southern California. Los Angeles, a city expecting to see flooding and big downpours, usually receives 14.66 inches of rain but only recorded 6.88 inches. By comparison, far Northern California ended up with above normal rain. Crescent City recorded 67.46 inches of rain, nearly five inches more than average.

La Niña is the opposite of El Niño. The waters in the tropical Pacific cooler than average during a La Niña event.

La Niña July SST

The most recent monthly sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific.

This typically has less of a connection to rain and snow for California. Seven out of the ten last La Niña events were dry for the state. There were three, though that brought above normal rain and snow.

Given this last El Niño fell flat on delivering the huge rain and snow totals, there’s still hope La Niña will deliver the well-needed water.

This originally appeared on KXTV.