Winter Forecast: A Strong Chance of El Niño


Weather experts say the conditions are ripe for a winter El Niño that would bring rain to the south and above-average temperatures to the north.

As Deputy Director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, Mike Halpert, explained, “We expect El Niño to be in place in late fall to early winter. Although a weak El Niño is expected, it may still influence the winter season by bringing wetter conditions across the southern United States, and warmer, drier conditions to parts of the North.”  

When it comes to which southwestern states can expect a winter downpour, however, California does not quite make the cut. Weather models predict that drought conditions are likely to persist across portions of the central Great Basin, the central Rockies, and Southern California, despite the very bottom of the State making it into the “wetter than normal” predictions.

So what does a mild El Niño that may barely touch California mean? It means stormwater season will be unpredictable at best and waterless at worst.

With this news in mind, it’s a good time to revisit regulations under the Industrial General Permit (IGP). Monitoring locations are identified in the stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) and tests are typically specific to your industry and dictated by your SIC code. Review your SWPPP to ensure that your organization stays in compliance with your region’s stormwater program.

Given the El Niño predictions, rain events this year are not guaranteed. Make sure you’re prepared by ordering your stormwater kit as soon as possible and working with your project manager to ensure you meet all of your stormwater testing requirements. Click here to view information about Babcock Labs’ stormwater testing services, or contact your project manager to schedule sampling/testing services today!