The association between El Niño and above-average precipitation in California and the Southwest is weaker and heavily influenced by its strength
The central equatorial Pacific signal has proven more dependable during bigger episodes
The two strongest occurrences in the past 60 years (1982/83 and 1997/98) brought above-median rainfall to California.
The entire state received median or above-median precipitation during strong periods in 1957/58 and 1972/73
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In 1965/66, precipitation was ordinary to below-average across the state, whereas large events in 1991/92 and 2009/10 only supplied tiny surpluses in the south.
The association is weaker for weak and moderate strength occurrences with one-third with above-average precipitation, one-third near-average, and one-third below-average.
In the US, El Niño causes drier conditions in the Ohio Valley and a less dependable dry signal in the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies. Hawaii also has below-average late fall–early spring rainfall.
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