Yes…it is that time of the year again!  And Mammoth is not lacking in any of the usual big winter rumors.  The Biggest Rumor now being perpetrated upon the public is the “Winter of 1000 inches” IE about 85 feet of snow on Mammoth Mtn.  Yes folks, not only does Mammoth have the greatest snow in the west, but it has moved from about 37.6 north to near 50N in Latitude, as that is probably would it would take to get Mammoth Mtn up to a 1000 inch Winter….especially during a possible La Nina Winter. 

Lets get the science right!

ENSO:   ENSO according to the Climatic Prediction Center,  is still officially in a neutral state. (La Nada) Last year it was nearly a full blown La Nina at this time.

We are not in a La Nina……

Yes, the Dweebs realize that the Nino region 3.4 numbers have gone negative recently. However, it takes 3 months of SST anomalies of -.5C to call it a “La Nina”  For either La Nina or El Nino to be quantified, it must be in that state for at least 3 months! (+-.5C) We are just in the early stages of the beginnings of La Nina if a La Nina occurs at all! This is because for one reason….it can change sign over that period.

Last Winter was a fluke:

We had near record strength of La Nina coupled with both a strong -PDO and the Right Blocking in the high Latts. IE -NAO and -AO. For the atmosphere, it was the perfect storm last winter and we still only received just 668 inches of snow total…not 1000 in inches.

Current conditions…..

We still have a very strong -PDO. That will add to any La Nina that forms in the Pacific. Yes, some of the climate models are predicting La Nina to really intensify later this winter. However, not all of them!

Also remember that La Nina’s here in Central Ca more often than not, bring equal chances of a normal winter’s precipitation, not the super heavy winters like last winter. Last Winters La Nina was rare in the amount of precip that fell. It was off the scale stastically in standards of deviation of the norm.

What the Dweebs are looking forward to this winter:

One of the more interesting events that may take place this winter is a severe cold out break over the far west that often follows a moderate to strong La Nina winter the following year. I do expect periods of snow to fall at very low elevations in Southern and Central Ca, possible down to sea level. Do the Dweebs believe that we will have big storms this winter… bet we do!

The Dweebs are excited about the fact that although we have Neutral ENSO conditions at the moment….the global circulation is still in La Nina mode. I would imagine, that will probably continue into next Winter. I am assuming that it is part of the large scale global pattern coupled with the current -PDO SSTA’s including the drought in Texas.

There is no doubt, that the current -PDO is strong.  Once we get out of the Western Pacific Typhoon season, the pattern over the pacific will settle down. In the meantime with all the amplification that is likely to take place across the pacific this Fall, there is no  doubt that there could be some early storms due to periodic typhoons re-curving to the north over the western pacific.

In the meantime……the current Typhoon will actually have the effect of amplifying a ridge over the far west for some real toasty weather next week! The 6 to 10 and 8 to 14 days outlooks from Monday show warmer then normal temps for the sierra the next couple of weeks……More later…

Dr Howard and the Dweebs…………………….:-)


Reference Glossary of Weather Terms
Disclaimer: I have been a hobbyist meteorologist for over 30 years here in the Mammoth area and I do this for my personal enjoyment. The National Weather Service saves lives every day . . . I do not. When making important planning decisions please use information provided by the National Weather Service as they are the most knowledgeable and accurate information source available today.