Despite sunny skies, El Nino still looms over Southern California

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Despite sunny skies, El Nino is still looming over Southern California. (KABC)

What happened to El Nino?

Meteorologists had predicted this winter would be one of Southern California's wettest ever, with a historically powerful El Nino weather pattern brewing in the Pacific Ocean.

The El Nino was expected to bring some relief to the state's extended drought, but also lead to widespread flooding and mudslides in some areas, as occurred during the 1998 El Nino.

But since Oct. 1, Southern California's rainfall has actually been below normal, bringing insufficient relief to the drought-stricken region. And a dry La Nina pattern is predicted for next year, meaning even less rain.

Mark Jackson, lead meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Los Angeles, noted at least one positive development this year - that Northern California has had more rain than usual. That has helped replenish the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which provides about half of Southern California's water supply.

And the rainy season is far from over at this point, he added.

El Nino is still powerful near the equator and March through May could still bring some relief to Southern California.

"If it was the baseball analogy, we'd be going into the 7th inning and we all know that a lot can happen in three innings of baseball," Jackson said.

Related Topics:
weatherel ninodroughtrainLong BeachLos Angeles CountySouthern California
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