Photo courtesy of Trey Morris in Roseville
The peak of our rainy season is quickly approaching. January and February average the most rain in the Sacramento region. After a dry start to the season, there's great concern the blue skies may mean trouble this summer.
Each month the Climate Prediction Center, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, renders an outlook for temperature and precipitation. These outlooks are for monthly forecasts and seasonal forecasts.
The latest prediction for January is showing below average rain and snow. Typically, Sacramento receives about 4.18 inches of rain in January. If the prediction holds, looks like we won't be making up for our dry November and December. The seasonal outlook isn't much better with below average rain and snow from January through March.
Temperatures look like they will continue on a warm trend. The prediction is for above normal temperatures in January. The seasonal outlook though shows an equal chance of either warm or cool temperatures from January through March.
NOAA makes its predictions based on short and long range weather patterns. The first trend they observe is the La Nina and El Nino/Southern Oscillations (ENSO) to check warming or cooling in sea-surface temperatures. This year the sea-surface temperatures in the central-equatorial Pacific Ocean appear normal and are expected to continue this way for the next three to six months. So it does not appear ENSO will have an impact on the winter outlook.
They then turn to some short-term weather patterns such as the Northern Atlantic Oscillation. This weather pattern usually changes from week to week. There are positive and negative phases. During the positive phase, weather is generally warm and mild as the jet stream moves north. During the negative phase, the jet moves south with more Nor'easters and cold air outbreaks possible.
These are broad based forecasts, showing the overall trend for the month or season.