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California-Nevada Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar: September 25, 2023

Event Date
September 25, 2023
Event Time
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

We're in for an El Niño winter—and likely a strong one. The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is expected to continue through December 2023 to February 2024, according to the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center. El Niño typically brings wet winter weather to California and Nevada, but what areas is this El Niño cycle expected to favor? Tune in to this month's Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar for a discussion on the expected impacts of ENSO along with a regular drought and climate update.

The California-Nevada Drought Early Warning System September 2023 Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar is part of a series of regular drought and climate outlook webinars designed to provide stakeholders and other interested parties in the region with timely information on current drought status and impacts, as well as a preview of current and developing climatic events (e.g., El Niño and La Niña).


Welcome to the California-Nevada Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar

Speaker: Amanda Sheffield | NOAA's National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), CU Boulder/Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)



El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Update

Speaker: David Dewitt | National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center

  • El Niño conditions are present.
  • Sea-surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific associated with El Niño are expected to intensify through the fall. There is a 95% chance that El Niño conditions will persist through the end of winter. There is a 71% probability of Nino3.4 SST anomalies exceeding 1.5 °C
  • For the southwestern U.S. this winter, this El Niño shows a modestly enhanced probability of above-normal precipitation for the southern part of the region. 



Drought and Climate Update & Outlook

Speaker: Daniel McEvoy | Western Regional Climate Center, DRI

  • Currently, less than 0.8% of California-Nevada is in drought. Summer precipitation was above normal, and record wettest in some areas. 
  • Major precipitation events included Hurricane Hilary and storms over Labor Day. These two events were key factors in increasing soil moisture, cooling the land surface, and decreasing fire danger. 
  • Soil moisture remains above normal for most of California-Nevada, while evaporative demand has been lower than normal. 
  • Regarding water supply, in both states all reservoirs outside of the Colorado River are in good shape.



El Niño Intensity Matters for Western U.S. Precipitation

Speaker: Andrew Hoell | NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory

  • Precipitation differs between El Niño events (even during strong El Niño events).
  • Stronger El Niño events are related to more precipitation. There is a 50% chance that California-Nevada will receive 125% of average precipitation during a strong El Niño.
  • Above-average precipitation is forecasted in 2023–2024 based on model ensemble forecasts from September 2023.



Questions & Answers




Speaker: Amanda Sheffield | NOAA/NIDIS, CU Boulder/CIRES

  • Register now for the next webinar in this series on Monday, November 27, 2023.