La Niña watch begins

After 16.36* inches of rain recorded for downtown Los Angeles from June 2009-June 2010, ocean conditions indicate a transition from the mildly wet El Niño system that gave Southern California a slightly better than average rainfall year to a dry La Niña one, according to the National Weather Service. An experimental and unofficial outlook map set issued by its Climate Prediction Center lays out a hot and dry 2010/11. Jet Propulsion Laboratory oceanographer Bill Patzert is already betting on a dry La Niña 2010/11 season. “Two years of El Niño are just such a low probability,” he said. “Six out of ten years are dry. I wish I had those odds in Vegas.” For those who think in terms of “normal” rainfall for Los Angeles, he added, “Normal is a cycle on a washing machine.”

*From the NWS California Nevada Forecast Center. NWS Los Angeles /

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