The National Weather Service just released its Seasonal Temperature Outlook, which looks ahead to the next three months.
The California water year just wrapped up and it was one of the rainiest years ever. Now, the National Weather Service says next year could also see above-average rain thanks to the start of an El Niño.
In the service's recently-released Seasonal Temperature Outlook, which looks ahead to the next three months, forecasters say Southern California and the west coast will experience above average temperatures during fall and more than likely the start of winter.
This comes as the first heat wave of fall will descend on the region this weekend with temperatures soaring inland to around 100 degrees.
"Really, October is the start of Santa Ana season. This is when we expect to see winds coming down those mountain slopes and heating up everybody, as you get closer to the oceans - even down to the coastal areas. It could be some of our hottest temperatures we've seen all summer," said Eric Boldt, coordinating meteorologist for the NWS' Los Angeles branch.
During our just-ended water year, from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, downtown Los Angeles registered its 7th rainiest year ever during a typically dry La Niña period.
The NWS says as the ocean warms and an El Niño period kicks in this winter, it typically leads to above-average rainfall.
"Now we're moving into an El Niño, and in many cases, we're looking at one of the strongest on record," Boldt added.
However, history shows it could also be a dry winter. The NWS' Seasonal Precipitation Outlook lists Southern California as having an average chance of rain this winter.
"We're thinking we're going to be above normal, but it doesn't rule out the possibility of being below normal. The last strong El Niño we had in 2015 and '16 - the strongest ever recorded - we had a really dry winter ... so I wouldn't go to Las Vegas and put all of your chips down on a wet winter because we could have an exceptionally dry winter as well."
California received more than 33 inches of rain last year, which is 128% of the average, making it one of the wettest water years in the state's recorded history.