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Forecasters Predict Mild El Niño Weather Pattern

TitleForecasters Predict Mild El Niño Weather Pattern
Author/CreatorCobourn, John; Purdy, Shelly; Segale, Heather M.
Related item(s)Press Release available at
Date Original2004-11-30
Summary/DescriptionLake Tahoe Report Segment #94 - "El Niño" (Air Date: November 30, 2004). Gary Barbato from the National Weather Service discusses predictions for a mild El Nino season and what that means for conditions in the Reno/Tahoe area.
SubjectEl Nino Current
Meteorology -- Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.)
LocationLake Tahoe (Calif. and Nev.)
Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.)
CollectionThe Lake Tahoe Report
Original PublisherLake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition (
Electronic PublisherUniversity of Nevada, Reno - Department of Teaching and Learning Technologies
Ordering and Permissions InformationFor more information, contact the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, or 775-832-4138.
Date Digital2005-03-14
RelationRequires Windows Media Player
Resource TypeMoving Image
Contributing InstitutionUniversity of Nevada, Reno
TranscriptionSegment 94: El Nino Air Date: November 30, 2004 Tease: Standup tape @ 7:10 "Forecasters are predicting a mild El Nino this winter. I'll tell you if that means wet or dry conditions. That's coming up on the Lake Tahoe Report." Anchor Intro: Forecasters talked a lot about El Nino and La Nina during the late 90's. They are now predicting this winter will be a mild El Nino. So, what does that mean for our winter storm forecast? Shelly Purdy explains in tonight's Lake Tahoe Report. Take PKG ((track 1)) The water is getting warmer in the Pacific Ocean…right along the equator west of South America. That's where El Nino and La Nina are measured. ((sot @ 5:37 Gary Barbato, National Weather Service)) "Basically if the temperature of the water in the equatorial pacific is greater than ½ a degree Celsius above the norm, you're barely into the El Nino category." ((track 2)) And conversely, if the water temperature gets colder, that's a La Nina. If this change in temperature happens for five months in a row, that means El Nino or La Nina are coming. And since the water is getting warmer in the equatorial Pacific, but not by much, forecasters are predicting a mild El Nino this winter. What does that mean for the Reno/Tahoe area? Maybe nothing. ((sot @ 6:43)) "A weak El Nino doesn't really mean a whole lot. We've had some record dry years and some wet years during this same kind of scenario." ((sot @ 9:36)) "El Nino's got to be very strong for it to make a big difference for us. And when that is the case, very strong, you will expect a wet winter. But during a weak El Nino, not the case." ((Track 2)) The reason is the Reno/Tahoe area sits right on the line of how El Ninos affect weather patterns in our region. During a strong El Nino, the south is wetter than normal and the north is drier. Since Reno and Tahoe are right on that north/south line, the El Nino must be very strong to give us wet weather. ((sot @ 7:49)) "What we're looking for this year at least for the first part of winter is close to average precipitation. The long range going out to next spring maybe get us a little bit above average during those months, but we'll have to wait and see." (standup tape @ 6:37 Shelly Purdy)) "The bottom line is it's still a craps shoot. We won't know what this winter brings until it's over. With the Lake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition, I'm Shelly Purdy for KOLO News Channel 8." Anchor Tag: By the way, El Ninos don't just affect the weather in our region. The Pacific Ocean covers about a quarter of the globe, so changes in the water's temperature have an impact around the world.

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