El Niño builds, above normal rain likely this winter, experts say

People Walking in Rain

El Niño building, rain and umbrellas on the way this winter

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SAN DIEGO — National Weather Service experts have been monitoring El Niño, a weather phenomenon of rising water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean along the equator.

El Niño has warmer water making its way toward Mexico and California, NWS experts said. Traditionally, El Niño causes more storms than normal to hit Southern California in the winter, which could be a welcome sight considering the state’s current drought conditions.

The amount of rain remains a mystery. The El Niño is still not considered “strong,” although it could reach that status.

“We have a little bit better chance of having normal or above normal rainfall, but by no means are we expecting 1997 – 1998 or 2004 – 2005, which were years that were really wet for Southern California,” said Alex Tardy of NWS.

Tardy said a good indicator will be rainfall in October and November. If we see storms during those months, it likely means more will be headed to the region through the end of March.

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