The Coming Toss of the Coin
By the end of August this summer, mornings greeted us here in Truckee with a distinct chill, a sure harbinger that autumn would soon be arriving, with aspens aflame with color and mists snaking along the river bottoms. It’s the time of year when I particularly enjoy being out with a fly rod. Of course, this year’s trout season has been, well, interesting
. Although fishing never ceased, low water caused at least one guide to decamp for the Rockies, another focused on carp in the Nevada section of the Truckee, and a third had his clients hitting local lakes (and doing well). Everyone associated with angling was in a make-do mode. And the question on everyone’s mind was and is: Will this drought continue into a fifth year?
The forecasts are calling for a huge El Niño effect on weather this winter, perhaps the largest in recent history. The common belief among townsfolk, echoing chirpily optimistic television news reporters, is that we’re going to get hammered with storms and experience “big snow.” Some even worry we’ll receive too much precipitation, leading to damaging floods, as occurred in 1997.
The people who study weather and climate, however, are nowhere near as certain as to what this coming winter might bring both to Truckee and to the state as a whole. El Niño refers to a band of warm water that develops on an irregular basis in the central Pacific Ocean and that is associated with higher than average winter precipitation in Central and Southern California. Although the expectation is that the upcoming El Niño will be among the strongest ever recorded, an anomalous “blob” of unusually warm water has developed off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, and how this warm water might interact with El Niño is still unclear. Conceivably, it could create a ridge of high pressure that forces storms away from us.
The bottom line, in essence, is that we just won’t know how winter will turn out until we’re well into it. The advice for anglers: remain ready to adapt to whatever conditions develop.
Publisher and Editor