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[pct-l] The Truth About El Nino

>At 12:00 AM 12/3/97 -0600, BlisterFree wrote:
>>  Greeting fellow '98'rs.  I guess we're all chomping at that bit by now...
>>any word if El Nino has provided the Sierra with abnormally high snow levels

I hike the PCT a bunch because I live close to it in N. California, but I'll
probably never be a thru-hiker.  I monitor the PCT list but don't contribute
much.  But I get the feeling from the list there are a lot of unwarranted
assumptions about El Nino going around, so I have to say something.

One of my clients, a large N. Calif. construction company, spends a lot of
money on private weather forecasting because the weather affects their
business so much.  They have studied this year's El Nino extensively, of
course, and part of their studies include historical review.  One of their
findings which intrigues me is that as far back as reliable data goes, EL

So far this season, snowfall amounts in the Sierra are nothing to shout
about.  There was one significant storm just before Thanksgiving which
enabled some marginal holiday skiing, but that's already detiorated due to
warm weather.  Twice in the past week -- on Sunday and again on Wednesday --
storms came into California which do what I call "bounce" off the Sierra --
hit the coast, drop some rain and slide north to Oregon without leaving so
much as a snowflake in the mountains.  I woke up in the foothills Weds. to a
sunny day -- drove to San Francisco in the afternoon, found rain showers
everywhere west of the valley, drove back to the foothills in late evening
on dry roads, and woke up to another sunny day today.  My observation over
many years is that when a large high pressure area gets camped over the
Great Basin in December, it can kill off the whole winter.  I wonder if that
may be happening.

I guess my message is, don't jump to any conclusions about El Nino.  You
could just as easily be scrambling to find water in '98 as you could be
fighting snowdrifts.

       -- Happy Holidays from the Horton/Brandon Family --