The Northwest has had above-average snowpack and rain in many areas this winter. That’s good -- it’s wiped out drought. But all that water has wildland fire managers concerned about the terrain’s greening cheatgrass.
Meteorologists say this winter is likely to be slightly colder than average because we are in a weak La Nina year. Some years there are very clear signs if it will be a La Nina or El Nino. Sometimes the signals are conflicting and aren’t easy to interpret.
Mountain snowpack is above normal throughout the Pacific Northwest this winter, in spite of warmer than normal temperatures in January. That’s good news after last year’s extreme drought. The findings were released in a federal report released Monday.
The summer may be over, but this year’s drought isn’t. Washington state officials are predicting another warmer-than-normal winter. That could mean there won’t be enough snow to head off another year of drought.
A historically strong El Niño is taking shape according to climatologists watching the Pacific Ocean. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said during a briefing Thursday that the current El Niño has the potential to develop into one of the most potent on record by late fall or early winter.
The supercomputers at the Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center have crunched long-term trends to produce an outlook for June, July and August. For most of the Northwest, the forecast gives a strong probability of above-normal temperatures.
Rain may be in the forecast for much of the region tonight and tomorrow, but the Northwest is in for a drier than normal winter. That's according to an updated long-term forecast released Thursday by the National Weather Service.