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Forecasters Mixed on West’s Winter Weather


What will the 2016-20127 winter deliver, weatherwise, for California and Arizona farmers?

AccuWeather says that northern California could have a stormy start to the season while points south of the San Francisco Bay Area and Lake Tahoe will remain warm and dry for the entire winter season.

Much the same is predicted for all of Arizona.

AccuWeather’s long-range forecaster, Paul Pastelok, thinks December could include snow pack in northern California before high pressure returns and makes an impenetrable goal-line stand on storms trying to move into the Pacific Northwest and California.

Meanwhile, record high temperatures are in the forecast for locations in Arizona and the Southwest, Pastelok says.

The good news in this scenario is sufficient amounts of rain and snow in northern California which could refill reservoirs like last year, even though farmers in the southern half of the state saw little-to-none of that to irrigate crops this year. Still, the mountains would need sufficient snow to help hold the reservoirs at higher levels through the summer months.

On the flip side, forecasters say this scenario will only exacerbate drought and water conditions in Southern California.

Farmer’s Almanac
Much of California’s growing region will be cold and dry, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, while Northern California will be mild and wet – again, pointing to the possibility of better conditions for storage reservoirs in the north.

The southern desert growing region of California and Arizona will largely be mild and dry all winter, according to the almanac.

National Weather Service
With neither El Niño nor their little sister La Niña poised to control the Eastern Pacific this winter as sea surface temperatures return to normal, weather conditions across much of California could be “normal.” Charts and graphics suggest that not all “normal” winters had ample rain and snow. Some were drier than average while others had higher-than-average rain and snow.

The National Climate Center (NCC) breaks the year into segments, suggesting that early winter – December, January and February – will trend with an equal chance for anything to happen – too wet, normal or too dry – for California with a higher chance of dry conditions in the southeast quadrant of Arizona.

Both regions have a greater chance of warmer temperatures than normal throughout the period.

Looking into the three-month period starting February, the NCC sees a greater likelihood of warmer temperatures for the southern two-thirds of California and Arizona with rain probabilities given an equal chance of being at, above, or below normal in much of California.

Meanwhile, Arizona is more likely to experience below-normal precipitation across the state during the same period.

Source: Todd Fitchette, Western Farm Press

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