For Californians sick of rain, snow and an all-around stormy start to 2023, the next couple weeks are looking good.
The Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, released two maps Monday that show California is expecting weather that’s both warmer and drier than average starting Easter Sunday and continuing for five days.
Does that mean the era of atmospheric rivers is over for this rainy season, and California can finally dry out?
There are good reasons to believe the worst of rain is behind us, explained Brian Garcia, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Bay Area office.
“As we move deeper into spring, the odds of having large impactful storms diminishes,” said Garcia. “It’s tough to say with 100% certainty that we’re done with the big storms, but climatologically we’re at the end of the window.’
Late-season large storms are still a possibility, they are just growing less likely, Garcia said.
As San Francisco Chronicle meteorologist Gerry Díaz explained, high pressure building in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean will act “like a lid that shuts off the Pineapple Express.” The Pineapple Express is essentially the atmospheric river that runs from Hawaii to the West Coast of the U.S., bringing tropical moisture that turns into heavy storms.
But rain is entirely possible — and quite normal — without atmospheric rivers. Case in point: Showers are in the forecast for the Bay Area and much of Northern California on Friday and Saturday (days not covered by the Climate Prediction Center’s six-to-10 day forecast).
While the Climate Prediction Center is expecting a dry and warmer start to April, Garcia explained, the weather looks like it will cool off again later in the month, “with a little bit of rain possible.”
On the bright side, Garcia said, “Their charts do not indicate any blockbuster storm at this time.”