La Niña Exits Weather Stage As Spring Beckons

Feb 10, 2017
Originally published on February 9, 2017 8:23 pm

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared Thursday that a weak and short-lived La Niña weather phenomenon is over.

La Niña and its opposite El Niño are tropical climate patterns that can strongly influence snowfall and temperatures in the Pacific Northwest. La Niña is characterized by unusually cold surface waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

The domino effects this time around were mostly true to form -- for example, with lowland snow -- observed Kathie Dello, the deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University.

"La Niña and El Niño tend to impact the winter. While we do have some left, most of that is behind us,” Dello said.

Under the "neutral" conditions present now in the tropical Pacific, “there's not much we can say about the connection to what spring may look like,” she said.

For a hint of what lies in the near future, Dello turned to the one month and three month outlooks from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center. Those forecasts say the odds favor a warmer and wetter than average February across the Northwest and then a normal spring after that.

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