Say goodbye to El Niño, California. What does new weather pattern mean for the state?

Following a wet El Niño, experts are forecasting a new climate pattern will arrive in the Pacific Ocean.

In early February, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center announced that El Niño is transitioning to a neutral pattern of the El Niño Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, with conditions leaning toward La Niña by the summer.

ENSO-neutral means the climate pattern is neither El Niño or La Niña, according to National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

“Even though forecasts made through the spring season tend to be less reliable, there is a historical tendency for La Niña to follow strong El Niño events,” the Climate Prediction Center said in the announcement.

There’s a 79% probability that the conditions will be ENSO-neutral starting sometime between April and June, the center said.

The Climate Prediction Center said that there’s a 55% chance that La Niña will develop sometime between June and August, but there are “increasing odds.”

What is La Niña? El Niño?

According to the National Weather Service, La Niña conditions occur when the central and eastern Pacific Ocean cools and temperatures dip below average.

El Niño, its counterpart, occurs when the ocean surface warms.

What can California expect?

For northern California, the climate patterns have little relation with the amount of precipitation, the National Weather Service said on its website.

As seen in the past, strong La Niñas can mean wet, dry or near normal weather conditions in Northern California.

“That’s the problem with La Niña,” Craig Shoemaker, a National Weather Service meteorologist and climate program manager told The Sacramento Bee in October 2021. “You can go from one extreme to the other very quickly.”

However, in central and southern California, La Niña typically brings below-normal precipitation such as rain, the weather service said.

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