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Will El Nio bring an end to the drought?

State Climatologist Michael Anderson issued the following statement on potential El Niño conditions: “California cannot count on potential El Niño conditions to halt or reverse drought conditions. Historical weather data shows us that at best, there is a 50/50 chance of having a wetter winter. Unfortunately, due to shifting climate patterns, we cannot even be that sure.”

California is in the fourth year of a severe drought, and we are experiencing record-high temperatures with a record low snowpack for California. The snowpack is very important to our water supply, and is the source of spring runoff for irrigation use throughout the summer.

Questions on how El Niño conditions may impact winter temperatures, precipitation and snowpack for California are being asked across the state. As Anderson states, “Of the seven years since 1950 with similar ENSO signals (1958, 1966, 1973, 1983, 1988, 1992, and 1998) three were wet years, one was average and three were dry (with water year 1992 perpetuating a drought). Past years were cooler than the temperatures we are experiencing now which will impact the rain/snow boundary for any storms that materialize this winter.” The varied historical impact that El Niño has had on winter conditions, leaves the reliability of any predicted outcome questionable.

Although there are no assurances that El Niño conditions will end the current drought conditions, it is important we continue with our water conservation efforts. For more information on ways to conserve water, visit the City of Turlock’s website at or call the Municipal Services Department at (209) 668-5590.

For more detail and information on the unpredictable nature of the El Niño phenomenon, visit:

— Brought to you by the City of Turlock Municipal Services Department



Teach your family or others how to shut off automatic systems so they can turn them off if they get stuck or there is an emergency situation. While you are at it, teach them how to set the timers also.