Back in August, blogger Nat Johnson declared the El Niño of 2019 “officially done.”

Johnson isn’t just any blogger, either. His day job is with the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.


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“Winter will be cooler than normal. Rainfall will be below normal in the north and above normal in the south, with below-normal mountain snows. The coolest temperatures will occur in mid- and late December, mid- to late January, early to mid-February, and early and late March.” — The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s prediction for California

The question is, what will winter 2019-2020 look like in California?

Will we have a second straight year of big snows and periodically heavy rains? Or is California headed for the start of another drought?

AccuWeather’s Prediction

AccuWeather’s long-range forecast expert, Paul Pastelok, says that “the winter will yield enough precipitation to stave off drought conditions into the spring.”

Pastelok adds that the Southwest and California “could also have back-and-forth conditions, between some periods of dry weather and some active weather in the early winter, which is not really typical.”

The AccuWeather map below forecasts mild weather for northern California and the northern Central Valley, with ample rain in the remainder of the state.

Forecast map for winter weather in the United States 2019-20

What Do the Almanacs Say?

Two old standbys — the Farmers’ Almanac and the Old Farmer’s Almanac — mostly agree on their Golden State winter predictions.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, which was founded in 1792, provides this very specific forecast:

“Winter will be cooler than normal. Rainfall will be below normal in the north and above normal in the south, with below-normal mountain snows. The coolest temperatures will occur in mid- and late December, mid- to late January, early to mid-February, and early and late March.

“The stormiest periods will be in late November, mid- to late December, and early February; from late February into early March; and in mid- and late March. April and May will be cooler than normal, on average, with rainfall below normal in the north and above normal in the south.”

The rival Farmers’ Almanac, which was founded in 1818, calls for cool temperatures and normal precipitation for the western third of the United States.

2019-20 winter weather forecast for the U.S. from Farmer's Almanac

Watch: California’s First Snowstorm of Last Winter

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