La Niña has arrived. Here’s what that means for Bay Area rainfall this winter


Next week could bring near-record rainfall to the Bay Area but the prognosis for the coming rainy season is that it will be drier than average — for the second year in a row.

A La Niña weather pattern has already developed in the tropical Pacific Ocean and will last through a second consecutive winter, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center announced Thursday.

With the state in a drought and vegetation parched, said Roger Gass, a National Weather Service meteorologist for the Bay Area, the outlook is not promising.

“We do not want to go into another year of dry conditions,” he said, “but a La Niña means the likelihood is greater.”

Known as a “double dip,” back-to-back La Niña rainy seasons are not uncommon, according to climate scientists.

But it is a foreboding forecast for the West, and particularly California, which rely on wet winters to fill reservoirs and turn the forests and mountains green. With the state in drought and wildfires still burning across the state, Californians are eager for precipitation.

And some may arrive in the coming week. A small amount of rain may sprinkle parts of the Bay Area on Sunday, Gass said. But a possibility of widespread precipitation — perhaps as much as 2 inches in parts of the Bay Area and Northern California — could arrive toward the middle and end of next week.