SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that there is a 91% chance La Ñina will happen this year from September to November. But what is La Ñina – and what does that mean for the San Joaquin Valley?

NOAA describes La Ñina as when the trade winds that blow across the Pacific push warm water across the ocean towards Asia. When this happens, colder water takes its place off the coast of North and Central America. This weather event can cause a winter full of flooding in the northern part of California and a drier than normal winter in the southern according to the NOAA.

CBS47’s Meteorologist Justin Sacher says although La Nina has a reputation for bringing lots of wet weather to the San Joaquin Valley, historical data shows that’s not always the case.

Fresno County Farm Bureau President Daniel Hartwig hopes for as, much rain as possible, but is prepared for the worst.

“Right now we’ve been relying so much on our savings account in our aquifer that it’s really starting to play a lot of havoc with groundwater levels lowering,” says Hartwig.

Hartwig says surface water is important to replenish the groundwater supply that farmers have been reliant on because of the severe drought California is facing. Wells are running dry for farmers who rely on groundwater.

“Most farmers are planning on this being another dry year again and we are making planning decisions accordingly,” said Hartwig.

The prediction is forcing farmers to leave acres of land unplanted because there are restrictions on how much groundwater they can use in dryer years because of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The California Department of Water Resources says SGMA is to protect groundwater from being overused and available for future generations.