Adam Jensen: Hoping for the best with the El Niño’s hype
Maybe you’ve heard, but there are El Niño conditions brewing in the Pacific Ocean for the fall and winter. It seems like I can’t go a day without seeing another story about how much precipitation the phenomenon is going to dump on California. If it does, great, we certainly need it, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves while trying to predict the fickle western weather. I remember quite a bit of hype about El Niño’s counterpart, La Niña, bringing fierce storms to Lake Tahoe over the last couple years, and those predictions didn’t exactly pan out.
California State Climatologist Michael Anderson issued a statement on potential El Niño conditions this week, and it is certainly less rosy than many would hope.
“California cannot count on potential El Niño conditions to halt or reverse drought conditions,” Anderson said in the statement. “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.”
The drought has resulted in record-high temperatures and record low snowpack for California, according to the statement. Five of the lowest 10 snowpacks on record have also occurred in the last decade, including the past four years.
“Unfortunately, a historical look at past years with similar El Niño conditions as currently forecasted provide little guidance as to what California might expect this winter,” according to the statement. “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.”
I’m not trying to be a downer here, the hype just hurts that much more when storms don’t back it up. I’m hoping to get sick of shoveling snow this winter, while letting storms speak for themselves. And hey, for what seems like one of the few times in weeks, it looks like we have some classic Lake Tahoe summer conditions in store for the weekend. So get out there and enjoy it, whatever the weather brings. Here are some picks for this week:
Get out on the water
Highs are forecast in the mid-80s through the weekend without much wind to speak of. Tim Hauserman provides some advice for paddling the West Shore on page 20, but it’s a big lake and there are plenty of spots to go on an epic trip or just play around near the shore.
The cello isn’t necessarily an instrument that enters my wheelhouse on a regular basis, but Dirty Cello’s Rebecca Roudman brings more than a few unique sounds to the instrument. Some of them you can even head bang to. Anybody who can rock Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” or Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” on the strings is alright with me. Dirty Cello performs for free at 968 Park Hotel on Saturday. More information can be found on page 10. Beers from Deschutes Brewery will also be in the house, so there’s a bonus right there.
Tahoe Games Bike Night
This one is worth checking out simply for it’s uniqueness. A nighttime bike race? Alright. A nighttime bike race through a golf course where you could get yelled at for riding most any other time? Sold. Lake Tahoe Golf Course hosts the bike race Saturday night. There’s more information on the opposite page.
Adam Jensen is the editor of Lake Tahoe Action. He can be reached at email@example.com.