Wyoming & Western Droughts Are Breaking
If the trend continues, and it looks like it will, the West will have a real drought-buster of a winter.
As predicted by meteorologists, the trends of the La Nina and El Nino effects are beginning to swap.
A natural cycle that has to do with the pacific temperature and cycles of the Sun actually affect how much moister our western states get.
That's good news for those low reservoirs.
What you see below is the snowpack for January of 2023.
Many areas are far above the recorded average for this time of year. That's nothing but good news when it comes to busting a drought.
At the same time, the West Coast is being pounded by one wet storm after the next.
There has been a bit of an alarm sounded over the past few years over western drought conditions.
Reservoirs and rivers are at an all-time low. It seems as if there have been more years of drought than years of replenishing wet.
That assessment is correct.
But according to regional meteorologist Don Day, who bases his headquarters in Cheyenne Wyoming, there are shorter cycles and there are longer cycles.
Have a look at this satellite video of water vapor moving in on the western states.
This was recorded on January 5th, 2023.
What you see the in the above video has been happening all winter.
California now has more wet coming in than it knows what to do with.
This will snow down a bit in mid-winter, but pick up again during the spring.
So why did all this wet weather stop for a while, then start up again?
It's all part of natural weather cycles that go beyond our yearly 4 seasons.
Let's look at the shorter cycles first.
Over the past year, Don day has spoken a lot about La Nina & El Nino.
During El Niño, trade winds weaken. Warm water is pushed back east, toward the west coast of the Americas. This means wet weather for the western states of the United States. (NOA).
La Niña means colder waters in the Pacific push the jet stream northward. This tends to lead to drought in the western & southern U.S. and heavy rains and flooding in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. La Niña can also lead to a more severe hurricane season. (NOA).
About every 10 years we go through a 2-year La Nina will coincide with the Sun cycles. According to Don Day, we are now on the backside of a La Nina. That means we will be coming out of it, soon, but not too soon.
So let's look at the longer cycles as Don Day did in his latest podcast.
Notice, on the left, there are more La Nina Winters. There are fewer in the middle There are more on the right.
Now have a look at the dates under the colored bars. We are looking at decades going back to the 1950s.
So now we can see the longer trends and the shorter trends over decades, not just years.
According to past trends, if they hold this time, we will begin the winter season of 2021-2022 a bit warmer and dryer. But that trend will slowly change as we get later into the winter of 2022. At that point, we should slowly be moving back into El Nino. So expect to see a wetter trend by next spring.
The good news for the West is that this has been a wetter spring than we have had in a while.
Still, we have a long road ahead of us. It looks like that pacific trend will not fully change until the winter of 2023. In the long run, this is good news.
Not only do the shorter trends show an end to the short-term drought, but, if the trends continue, we will have a period of longer-term wet coming our way.