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This El Niño could end California's drought

Posted at 12:18 PM, Jun 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-11 13:33:51-04

El Niño is already in effect, and now it's looking more and more certain it'll last through the end of the year.

This could be the answer to California's serious drought.

Forecasts currently have a 90 percent chance this El Niño will last through the end of the year.

El Niño is the warming of central and eastern Pacific Ocean temperatures. These warmer waters can then significantly change weather patterns around the world.

For the United States, an El Niño during this summer will hinder Atlantic Hurricane development while promoting more hurricanes in the Pacific. In the Winter - and this is why everyone's excited - it means more rain across the South, including California.

It's no secret California and the rest of the West is hurting from a serious drought. The state has been dealing with some form of drought since 2012, and it's only gotten worse up to this point.

A big El Niño event may just be what the state needs to end the drought and replenish snow pack in the Sierras. The last major El Niño in 1997-98 brought record-breaking rains from December through February.

Parts of California could use that. They need about a foot of rain to fall to end the state's drought in a month's time.

We'll be stuck waiting for the end of the year to see if this happens since California sees most of its annual rainfall during the winter months.

In the meantime, many in California are hoping and praying this El Niño event remains strong through next winter, and if forecasts are any indication, there's an 85 percent chance those hopes and prayers will get answered.