California storms prompt questions about accuracy of seasonal predictions
Coming into this winter, California was mired in a three-year drought, with forecasts offering little hope of relief anytime soon. Fast forward to today, and the state is waterlogged with as much as 10 to 20 inches of rain and up to 200 inches of snow that have fallen in some locations in the past three weeks. The drought isn’t over, but parched farmland and declining reservoir levels have been supplanted by raging rivers and deadly flooding.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issues seasonal forecasts of precipitation and temperature for one to 13 months into the future. The CPC’s initial outlook for this winter, issued on Oct. 20, favored below-normal precipitation in Southern California and did not lean toward either drier- or wetter-than-normal conditions in Northern California…