Cold temperatures and snow are pummeling the eastern and southern parts of the country, while California continues to have an abnormally warm and dry winter. The conditions, while strange, feel hauntingly familiar, as a similar weather pattern gripped the country last year.
“The same weather pattern in general has been locked in place the last two years. You could say that because of the ridge out West and this low pressure trough, or this vortex, back East,” said Eric Boldt, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
The block of high pressure referred to as the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” that caused winter storms to skirt California and draw frigid arctic air into other parts of the country appears to have returned.
Boldt said, in fact, that the ridge never truly disappeared but rather shifted, allowing limited rainfall to hit California this winter.
“It has changed positions slightly, but for the most part, we are seeing the same type of influence — the very much above normal temperatures and about half of what we should be seeing for our annual rainfall,” Boldt said.
Boldt said that if the ridge continues to persist, it will keep needed rain from reaching California.
“It’s bad news for the drought. This is our fourth straight year of below normal rainfall, and most of those years we’re talking the top five driest on record,” he said.