May 15, 2014

When Will 2014 California Drought be Over?

When will the 2014 California drought be over?

Since the 2013 California drought, it has gotten worse in California. The US Drought Monitor map above shows the intense drought conditions in California in 2014. The question on everyone’s mind, when will the drought be over?

Weather West has an excellent analysis of the 2014 El Nino conditions that are developing and how or if it will bring rains to California in 2014.

This is long-range weather forecasting, still an imperfect science. If you are expecting a definitive answer, you won’t find it yet so early in the year.

A strong East Pacific El Niño event would likely strengthen the subtropical branch of the jet stream just west of California during the canonical wet season. This would direct the storm track squarely into Central and Southern California, most likely leading to above-normal precipitation in these regions (and perhaps in far Northern California, as well). In addition, the occurrence of individual high-intensity storms and rainfall events would probably be higher than during a typical winter due to the proximity of the storm track to California. Thus, the risk of flooding may be higher during such an El Niño event, especially in Southern California.

The forecast: El Niño very likely; strong event possible

Recent observations certainly point toward the continued evolution toward an El Niño state (and very recent observations suggest that we’re nearly there already). Numerical ocean-atmosphere models—which are used to make predictions regarding the state of El Niño months in advance—are nearly unanimous in projecting the development of full-fledged El Niño conditions by late summer or early fall 2014.

More definitive forecasts – later in summer.

Tags: 2014 california drought, 2014 california drought and el nino, california drought over, what is el nino