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Southern California's early storm an indicator of winter?

October 6, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
We got a lot of rain on Wednesday and it was very early in the season. But is it a sign of what's to come this winter?

The rainfall in Los Angeles was the most on an October day in more than 100 years- 1.15 inches fell and the average for the entire month is about one-third of an inch.

Dr. Bill Patzert is a climatologist with Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. He says the cold Pacific Ocean waters near the equator indicate a drier than normal winter.

However, he points out that last year indicators forecast a drier than normal rainy season also. But what ended up happening was 20 inches of rain last season- that's above average. And half of the 20 inches fell during the last two weeks of December.

"We could have long periods with no rain fall and all of a sudden get hit by a series of storms out of the north Pacific that could send us to our knees like it did last winter," said Patzert.

The National Weather Service's climate prediction center is forecasting below normal winter temperatures for Southern California.

Most of the people didn't complain about Wednesday's rainfall or cooler temperatures. As far as the winter predicted to be cooler than normal, they say they just simply have to get ready for it.

"For parents, especially for my little boy here, we're preparing to make sure the heat works well," said Los Angeles resident Jim Grollman. "Especially at night; we can't sleep without the heat on."

Patzert says that one benefit from Wednesday's rain is that it comes before our first Santa Ana wind event. All the moisture will dampen the brush and ease the fire danger for at least a month.

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