(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)
WEATHER WHAT?: Meteorologists say they won’t be able to predict what kind of winter we will have…
Who knows what the heck is going to happen this winter?
Meteorologists monitoring ocean temperatures say that this year is shaping up to be “neutral,” meaning La Nina (colder than normal) and El Nino (warmer than normal) aren’t coming into play. While this might be considered good news, it also means that we don’t know exactly what this winter can do.
In the Pacific Northwest, we tend to have snowfall earlier during neutral years but this is based off of a small amount of data. It also has been documented that the Northwest experiences more wind storms in neutral winters.
We’ve already seen that early snowfall as the region set many records already for an uncharacteristic snowfall in September.
Meteorologists are also looking at an area of water off the West Coast this winter that has been abnormally warm. It could have a significant effect on our weather this winter. This could lead to a lower snowpack, but snow events could cause it to be closer to normal.
The western side of the state is bracing for rain and flooding in the coming months, but could also see drier conditions. According to forecasters, there is a 40 percent change Washington as a whole will see above-normal temperatures.
How do meteorologists come up with the types of winter? At the beginning of the rainy season, meteorologists keep an eye on the sea surface temperature right near the equator. It’s something that is known as the El Niño Southern Oscillation or ENSO. These tempretures tend to affect weather in eastern Washington. Sometimes its warmer, sometimes its colder than normal and sometimes like this year: neutral.
But with not a ton of data to pull off of for neutral, meaning we have suggestive and not definitive data.
So… be prepared, we guess?