Scientists predict 'La Nina' effect

PASADENA, Calif. Southern California had a storm just before Thanksgiving and another storm close to Christmas. However, since those two storms, the Southland hasn't seen any more moisture.

"Three months of heat ... I don't like that. But in January, I can take it for a week," said Shirley Stevenson, a Pasadena resident.

While some enjoy the warm weather, for other it's a concern.

"Rain through the holidays ... we were we were a little bit ahead of normal. Just a little bit for a little while," said Josh Willis, a /*Jet Propulsion Laboratory*/ climatologist. "Now we're just dropping back down below normal. And now it's looking like it's going to be another dry year."

Willis says satellites and floating sensors clearly show the eastern Pacific Ocean is in a /*La Niña*/ condition. The satellites show a cool ocean temperature, which translates into a warm, dry winter for Southern California.

"Weather is like a big roulette table. You never know where that ball is going to land," said Willis. "But things like La Nina ... And then there is another big system in the Pacific Ocean called the /*Pacific Decadal Oscillation*/ ... These are pointing towards dry conditions and they tilt that roulette wheel toward the big green zero."

Willis says the long-range forecast shows continued dry conditions. That is bad news for firefighters who are currently dealing with a year-round fire season. In addition, water officials are struggling with the effects of an extended drought. But while they worry, others say it's the warm weather that brought them to California.

Rain hasn't been common recently. One dry year in the midst of many wet years would make a bit of difference. But unfortunately in the last decade, we've only have had a couple of wet years. So La Niña is not a welcome guest.



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