As wildfires rage throughout California, predictions are for continued dry weather | TheUnion.com

As wildfires rage throughout California, predictions are for continued dry weather

Dry, windy, warm weather has continued to fuel the wildfires that so far this week have caused the death of at least 44 people, the loss of thousands of homes and the evacuation of more than 250,000 people from the Paradise area to the north and from Ventura County and Malibu in the south, according to reports.

There appears to be little relief in sight, with no rain predicted in the near future and continued low humidity through the week. There will be no strong wind patterns, but high temperatures will remain 8 to 14 degrees above normal, according to the National Weather Service.

And winter in general looks to be little better, with a weak El Niño on the horizon.

On Friday, the weather service released a winter condition update and winter outlook for California.

It’s been a slow start to the water year, which started on Oct. 1, wrote Senior Service Hydrologist Cindy Matthews.

In early October, some decent showers moved through Northern California, but that’s all we’ve seen for precipitation to date, Matthews said.

According to Matthews, the forecast is for a weak El Niño this upcoming winter season. But, as recent history illustrated, El Niño does not guarantee a wetter than average winter in California, she said.

It’s not all bad news, although weather forecasters caution that it is far too early to say for certain how the rainy season will shake out.

California’s wettest months are still to come: December, January, February and March.

“We typically receive the bulk of our precipitation and snow during these months; it’s still early,” Matthews wrote. “There is a good probability that the winter season will see at or above average temperatures. However, this does not mean we won’t see any cold storms or freeze events. Those events cannot be captured in the seasonal outlooks, as they are near-term forecasts.”

Anything can happen as far as precipitation, she added. California winters are determined storm by storm. Forecasters can see the storms and their potential impact about seven to 10 days out.

There are no major changes in the weather pattern during the short term, National Weather Service forecasters said Monday.

But there is a possibility of a pattern change as an upper trough approaches the area early next week. The big question is, will this bring any chance of rain?

According to the weather service, there are some differences to the various weather models that is yielding low confidence in the forecast.

“There is nothing on the horizon yet,” Matthews said.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.


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