Now water managers worry about drier than usual weather across much of California through March.
Last winter delivered a strong El Niño, the official designation for the climatic phenomenon typically associated with balmy temperatures and plenty of rain for many parts of the Golden State. This winter is on track to bring a strong La Niña – effectively the opposite phenomenon that can mean cooler, dry conditions, especially in Southern California.
It is the first time in more than three decades that a strong El Niño and strong La Niña occurred in back-to-back winters, according to climate data. The last time the robust “boy” and “girl” arrived in consecutive winters came in the mid-1970s, with an El Niño in 1972-73 and La Niña in 1973-74. The previous switch happened in the mid-1950s.