el nino

Last rainfall season was a big one for the Central and South Coasts, with above average rainfall for many drought impacted local communities.

Oxnard had 135% of average rainfall, Ojai 121%, and Lake Cachuma recorded136% of normal rainfall.  But, could we be headed back to a drought year? 

After five years of drought, California finally had some substantial rainfall.  But, researchers say some new drought conditions may be developing.

(NOAA image)

It’s been an impressive rainfall season for the Central and South Coasts, but a researcher says it was far from a drought buster.

Photo by David Hubbard

Last season’s El Nino didn’t bring a lot of rain to Southern California. But, a UC Santa Barbara researcher says it may a have actually been one of the most powerful climate events in the last 150 years.

Ecologist David Hubbard with UCSB’s Marine Science Institute is among a team of researchers who examined the 2015/2016 El Nino and its impact on beach erosion of the Pacific Coast. The results were astonishing.

“The erosion was 76% higher than normal. Most of the beaches in California eroded beyond their historic extremes.”

Scientists collected data from 29 beaches along more than 1,200 miles of coastline.

(NASA Photo)

El Nino was a boom for Northern California, and a bust for Southern California during the last year. Now, some experts say as we approach what should be our rainy season, we appear to be poised on the Central and South Coasts for another year of record drought.

Dr. Bill Patzert is an oceanographer with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. He says there are growing signs of a La Nina pattern developing, which can set the stage for less than average rainfall for the state.

Many people thought it was going to help ease the drought, but for the Central and South Coasts, El Nino has turned out to be a disappointment. As the days pass by, many climatologists say the possibility that we’ll see more badly needed rainfall from El Nino fueled storms is diminishing.