California Rain & Snow
The most significant precipitation event in over a year will be taking place all along the west coast and especially California. While the rain will certainly not end the severe drought it will certainly put a small dent into it.
While the news for beef producers in California is still bleak in regards to long term weather patterns and having the drought end soon, there is some indication that perhaps the worst might be over, at least for a while.
Through the weekend, some portions of southern California could receive 2 to over 5 inches of rainfall over the next ten days. As you can see below, the rain is widespread across southern California.
For central and northern California the prospects for significant rains and heavy Sierra snowfall is excellent as well. The far northern Sierra in particular will see heavy precipitation.
Some portions of the central and northern Sierra may receive in excess of four feet of snow.
Why have fortunes improved for California? Is the big blocking ridge gone? Has El Nino arrived?
First of all, the big blocking ridge, the one responsible for keeping the winter storms away this season is still there and still strong. However, water temperatures in the central and sub tropical Pacific has warmed over the past several weeks. This has allowed for a southern branch of the jet stream to develop, which in turn will bring more storm systems into California (underneath the ridge) over the next several weeks.
In regards to El Nino, generally good news for California when there is one, is showing signs of developing in 2014/2015..stay tuned for further developments as we watch the Pacific this spring and summer season.