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La Nina may visit California during upcoming winter

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POSTED September 20, 2017 1:17 a.m.

La Nina — the weather sibling to the usually  precipitation happy El Nino – now has a 62 percent chance of hitting California.
The U.S. Climate Prediction Center indicated that’s the case last Thursday just a month after their models said there was a 26 percent chance of El Nina developing from cooler water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean between November and January. That typically means a warmer and drier weather pattern in Southern California more rain and snow in the Pacific Northwest and a mixed bag of possibilities in Northern California. In the past, the central Sierra during some La Nina weather patterns has shared the pain of a drier and warmer weather with Southern California.
How a La Nina — should it materialize — impact rain, snow, and water supplies is anybody’s guess.
“It’s really too early to make any predictions (regarding the Stanislaus River watershed,” noted South San Joaquin Irrigation District General Manager Peter Rietkerk.
There were still pockets of snow above 10,000 feet in the Sierra along the eastern edge of the Stanislaus River water shed as of Labor Day weekend.
The SSJID board will meet Oct. 2 to decide when to end the current irrigation season. Typically it goes through mid-October.
The district expects to have delivered just over 200,000 acre feet of water when the current irrigation season ends. It is down significantly from historical highs thanks to conservation measures put in place by growers and the district as well as the residual effects of a wet year.
New Melones Reservoir is now at 84 percent of capacity with 2,027,792 acre feet. That level is 149 percent of average on Sept. 18 for the 2.2 million acre foot reservoir. Only one other of the state’s eight biggest reservoirs has more water in terms of average storage for this time of year. That’s San Luis Reservoir west of Los Banos that has 1,796,333 acre feet or 88 percent of its 2,041,000 capacity filled. That is 196 percent of normal.
Tri-Dam Project reservoirs that SSJID operates with Oakdale Irrigation District on the Stanislaus River watershed were all at more than 100 percent of average capacity on Sept. 18. Donnells Reservoir at 50,345 acre feet or 78 percent of its 64,320 acre foot capacity filled with water is at 142 percent of average.

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