It seems the United States has seen it all weather-wise this year: deadly tornadoes, destructive flooding, raging forest fires and in California, a drought that seems to have no end in sight.
But that could all change later this year says National Weather Service Meteorologist Eric Boldt.
“It's looking likely we'll have an El Niño," Boldt said. "It’s just a matter of how strong that event will be."
An El Niño is when the Pacific Ocean has warmer ocean temperatures than normal.
This change creates a shift in weather patterns, which could mean more rainfall this winter.
In addition to warmer temperatures, it could lead to less hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean and an increased amount of storms for the Pacific.
“The jet stream could be in a different location so those storms could hold together and have that warmer sea surface temperature to continue their strength,” Boldt explains.
The effects of hurricanes and tropical storms on Southern California, though rare, are not out of the question.
“As we get into September, October, through the summer and continue heating, we could get that potential," says Boldt. "So we can't ever let our guard down.”
During an El Niño in 1939, a tropical cyclone moved onshore at Long Beach, which was the last event that actually made landfall and the only one we know of on record.
So don’t dust off those rain boots just yet.
“We should not equate El Niño to lots of rain," Boldt says. "The strong events of El Niño in the past, there's only been four, have given us above-normal rainfall.”
As it currently stands, Southern California could see a moderate El Nino, which is why conserving water is still very crucial.
“If we are talking about a weak or moderate El Niño event, we're not guaranteed above-normal rain," says Boldt. "And we could have continued dry conditions even during El Niño years.”
All we can do for now is watch and wait to see what Mother Nature brings.
For more information on tropical cyclones and Southern California, visit this link:http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/enso/tropstorm.nws