El Nino

Questions and reports related to Sierra Nevada current and forecast conditions, as well as general precautions and safety information. Trail conditions, fire/smoke reports, mosquito reports, weather and snow conditions, stream crossing information, and more.
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Tom_H
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Re: El Nino

Post by Tom_H » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:21 pm

cefire wrote:I should also note that there is near consensus that no matter what this season brings, we'll still be in significant or extreme drought :angry:
That is not accurate. If we have a winter like '82 or '97 every reservoir will be full and still dumping great volumes of water.








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cefire
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Re: El Nino

Post by cefire » Fri Sep 11, 2015 10:43 pm

Hmmm...perhaps I'm passing along bad info (albeit from meteorologists), I appreciate the alternative thoughts.

I should point out though that the reservoirs being full does not necessarily mean the drought is over. The reservoirs could be bursting which would be great for all of us, but wouldn't mean there isn't a drought. This is entirely plausible if the winter is warm and produces heavy rain, but below average snow pack.

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Tom_H
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Re: El Nino

Post by Tom_H » Fri Sep 11, 2015 11:36 pm

cefire wrote:Hmmm...perhaps I'm passing along bad info (albeit from meteorologists), I appreciate the alternative thoughts.
Those of us who lived here during those years have seen the state go from severe drought, i.e. the reservoirs all empty, to not just full reservoirs but massive flooding in widespread areas of the state.

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cefire
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Re: El Nino

Post by cefire » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:00 am

As a recent import, I appreciate the info! :thumbsup:

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Re: El Nino

Post by Cross Country » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:04 am

82 or 97. Am I missing something here. Why does no one mention 2010. I think it was 2010.

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Tom_H
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Re: El Nino

Post by Tom_H » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:26 am

Cross Country wrote:82 or 97. Am I missing something here. Why does no one mention 2010. I think it was 2010.
That was well above normal, but it was nothing like '82 or '97. On July 11, 2011 I stood on a 40' drift somewhere close to the PCT due east of Lake Aloha. There was continual snow from Haypress Meadows to below Susie Lake. We had a good snow pack that year, but we did not have the massive flooding we had in those other years. 2010-11 brought most reservoirs to full, but did not see dam gate managers worrying about flow rates that would catastrophically overwhelm the outlets' capacities. Sacramento actually has worse flood potential than New Orleans. This shows Yuba City in 1955 and in 2010:

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Yuba City in 1997:

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Cross Country
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Re: El Nino

Post by Cross Country » Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:39 am

Thank you because I like that kind of info and I did not know that.

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Jimr
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Re: El Nino

Post by Jimr » Mon Sep 14, 2015 7:31 pm

As a long time resident, I also recall several times where media and meteorologists claim it would take 10 years of above average precipitation to relieve us from the current drought only to have that very winter dump enough that the word drought drops from the conversation. The March Miracle of 1990 comes to mind. It is quite typical that when drought conditions break, we tend to get several years of average to above average rainfall based on a 3 year moving average. Hopefully, there will be a break in the current cycle and we can start talking about what we're going to do based on all of the snow.
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Re: El Nino

Post by Tom_H » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:57 am

Jimr wrote:As a long time resident, I also recall several times where media and meteorologists claim it would take 10 years of above average precipitation to relieve us from the current drought only to have that very winter dump enough that the word drought drops from the conversation.
I remember when they finished the dam at Lake Sonoma around New Year's of '97. In the local papers, meteorologists proclaimed that no matter what kind of winters we had, it would take an absolute minimum of 12 years for the thing to fill. About 10 days later, the thing was full and overflowing the emergency flood gates at great volume.

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Re: El Nino

Post by dave54 » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:19 pm

The New Years flood of 97 was a rain on snow event. We had a series of relatively cold storms in November and December, leaving an above average snow pack down to low elevations. Then a warm tropical storm hit around 12/31 sending not only the warm rain, but all the melted snow, downhill. Locally it was determined after the fact, when all the data became available, to be a 70 year event. IIRC, the snow pack never really recovered after that.
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