Statewide, strong El Nino predictions didn’t live up to their forecast hype, but that was partly due to the lack of comparisons.
Early forecasts for El Nino weather activity showed the possibility of strong weather systems rolling through the state. Potent El Nino systems in the past had brought rain to the southern areas of the state, however that didn’t happen this time.
Jeanine Jones with the Department of Water Resources says it’s hard to predict the strength of those weather patterns mainly because of a lack of comparison. “What it really shows is not only is it very difficult to predict precipitation on seasonal timescales, but also we have a very small statistical sample set to work from,” Jones says. “Depending on how you want to classify a big El Nino, there are only three to six or seven big El Nino’s in the past and that’s a very small number to be making a big bet on.”