The Western View: Weather, Rain or Drought Ahead

Taylor HillmanDrought, Environment, Features, Weather, Western View

It’s finally fall.  This year, summer held on to the last possible second, giving us the treat of one of the hottest summers ever.  Here in the Fresno, California area, we set a record for the most days above 105.  Yea, it’s a distinction we could have done without, but we didn’t have any say in the matter.  On the positive side, it made for some really good peaches and nectarines.

But time marches on, and with the fall of the temperature a young man’s fancy turns to football; and a farmer turns to the weather.  California summers are wonderfully predictable – one hot day after another, for most of us – with dry weather pretty much guaranteed through September.  But what might happen after that has us all in suspense.  Are we getting rain this year?  A nice wet winter?  Or will the drought return?

Important questions to be sure, but to answer them we have to turn tp a less than perfect science.  Weather forecasting has always seemed more an art than a science.  Professional meteorologists assure us they have the tools and the knowledge to prognosticate wisely.

But, this year, the scientists agree, they don’t know what is going to happen.  There’s no El Nino or La Nina, so, the winter will go either way.  They think it will be warmer or cooler than average.  Well, imagine that.  I’ll go out on a limb with them and say it will either be wetter or drier than average this winter.

Well, that’s what happens when our winter is not affected by El Nino or La Nina.  The impact these forces have on wind, air pressure, and rain create a predictable and cascading effect around the entire globe.  It affects us here by moving the jet streams that guide storms towards the United States.  That makes prognosticating the weather much easier.  But, without El Nino, we’re left with  The Old Farmer’s Almanac and grandpa’s bad knees to tell us what’s going to happen.  Or maybe we should flip a coin.

Well, the Almanac says we are all in for a warmer than usual winter but with a normal amount of moisture.  That sounds about right … that’s what my arthritic old bones are saying.

I’m Len Wilcox and that’s the Western View brought to you by Citrus Industry Magazine – visit us on the web at