El Niño finally arrived in Northern California on Monday, bringing rain, snow and hopes for relief from four years of drought.
After months of forecasts, the weather phenomenon caused by warming ocean temperatures began delivering on its promise. The light morning rain that greeted Sacramentans was expected to give way to heavier precipitation later in the day. The National Weather Service predicted “a stronger wave” after midnight and advised motorists to take extra care during the Tuesday morning commute.
Another series of storms was expected starting Wednesday and extending into Thursday.
Until now, the season’s storms have been the product of the northern polar jet stream, said Michelle Mead, warning coordination meteorologist with the weather service’s Sacramento office. This week’s storms, however, are being driven by southern subtropical weather patterns, as is common with El Niño, she said.
The El Niño phenomenon is caused by warming of Pacific Ocean waters and generally brings a wet winter to much of California.
“The typical El Niño weather pattern has developed this week,” Mead said. “That will usher in a series of storms. It is happening quite textbook.”
More in the Sac Bee.