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El Niņo: Gorge, Hawaii, Baja, California.

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Joined: 18 Mar 1997
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:08 pm    Post subject: El Niņo: Gorge, Hawaii, Baja, California. Reply with quote

El Niņo and La Niņa have a major impact on winter and spring winds and weather in the Gorge, Hawaii, Baja, California.

When a winter brings a full blown El Niņo develops the storm track over the USA west coast drops more south than normal. And the North Pacific High moves much further south leaving low pressure of lord over the N. Pacific. On the average this means:

Southern California: More storms and rain in the winter and has later and weaker NW clearing winds in the spring since the North Pacific High's surface NW winds are too far to the south.

Hawaii: More Kona conditions than normal. But with the North Pacific High further to the south the NE trade winds are less reliable than normal and have a more easterly direction.

Bay Area About the same as Southern California.

Baja, La Ventana and Los Barriles: Normally dry Baja Norte gets significant rain and it can get very difficult to get into or out of San Carlos.. The big winds on the east cape are caused in large part by the high pressure that moves into the 4 corners (where all the square states meet) after a storm has exited eastward after hitting California. In an El Niņo year this high pressure often does not set up in the 4 corners so Los Barriles and La Ventana are less likely to have El Norte winds to push their mid teens local sea breezes into the low 20's. In addition since there are not El Norte winds blowing down the entire length of the Sea of Cortez the swell is smaller.

The Gorge: The Pacific Northwest has less rain/snow than normal. In the spring and summer the wind starts a bit later than normal since it takes longer for the North Pacific High to climb up the coast from the south.

So what are the chances of an El Norte this winter especially in Baja?

Last winter 2011/12 Baja and the west coast was in a La Niņa pattern which can produce very good or very weak wind. We lucked out and had great wind but very few big El Norte blows. This winter is more complex. We would expect that this winter would normally be a neural year, No El Niņo, no La Niņa, since we just finished a La Niņa. However this summer there have been hints of a El Niņo developing. In recent weeks there has been a slowdown in the development of El Niņo conditions. Half of the models indicate that neutral to weak El Niņo conditions for this winter and half suggest that a weak El Niņo could develop. The official NOAA forecast favors the continuation of neutral to weak El Niņo conditions into Northern Hemisphere winter 2012-13, with a chance of a stronger El Niņo developing by the holidays.

I will update in the Baja Guide as things become more firm.

Mike Godsey

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