Californians desperate for a break in the rain will find a glimmer of hope in a new forecast released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.
The outlook for the month of April leans toward below-average chances of rain and snow for the state.
But don’t put away your umbrellas just yet – there are a few caveats to mention.
First off, there’s more rain in store before we even get to April. The next 10 days are likely to be very wet, as there’s already another atmospheric river lurking off the coast and heading our way.
Next week’s atmospheric river will probably peak Tuesday or Wednesday, National Weather Service meteorologist Dalton Behringer said. It’s too soon to say exactly which part of the state will be hardest hit, but state climatologist Michael Anderson said earlier this week that the storm’s impact zone could stretch from the Bay Area to San Diego.
Once that storm passes, things are looking a bit drier, as is normal for April in California. “It’s not like we’re going into this crazy dry pattern or anything,” Behringer said. “It’s just April is typically the time that we would dry out and we’re seeing that pattern start to shift towards a drier pattern after the end of this month.”
Behringer cautioned against a misreading of the map (below), which forecasts in terms of probabilities – not certainties. The forecast calls for a 33% to 50% chance of below-average precipitation for California in April.
“That doesn’t mean that we’re not gonna see any rain,” Behringer said. “This tells you there’s a chance of below-normal precipitation, not how much below-normal precipitation. … We could still see an atmospheric river – that doesn’t mean you can’t get those to happen.”
Brian Garcia, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Bay Area office, said it could even be months before we see prolonged stretches of dry weather.
“If we go deep into the crystal ball, then the week of the 27th we might have a few sunny days, but in all likelihood, we won’t dry out until we get deep into spring and early summer,” he told Nexstar last week.