The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) recently released their latest winter weather outlook including for the Pacific Northwest. NWS Seattle produced a YouTube weather briefing on the latest winter weather outlook plus a peek ahead for the rest of 2016.
Here is the link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YlMXH2tnfQ
El Nino conditions in the eastern Pacific tropical waters remain quite warm – among the three warmest on record going back to 1950. As of last week, sea-surface temperatures in these tropical waters had warmed to close to 3.0 degrees Celsius above average and showing signs of leveling off. Other such warm El Ninos included the winters of 1982-83 and 1997-98.
With El Nino well in place, the CPC winter seasonal outlook for the Pacific NW maintains a strong likelihood of warmer than average temperatures. For precipitation, the latest outlook indicates near average or tips the odds toward below average through this winter.
What does all this mean for our mountain snowpack? The warmer than average temperatures usually result in a higher average mountain snow level. This trend translates into good odds of a below average mountain snowpack, especially at lower elevations. Yet, a repeat of last winter’s meager mountain snowpack is not anticipated.
The latest guidance on the trend for tropical Pacific sea-surface temperatures shows a dramatic cooling trend this coming spring and into the summer. This trend means that the current El Nino episode should end and turn into either neutral or even La Nina conditions by the fall of 2016. For the latest seasonal weather outlooks including this coming spring, summer and fall, click the NWS Seattle web page headline at www.weather.gov/seattle/