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Weather and Climate

Long-Range Forecast Calls For Warmer, Drier Winter


The long-range weather outlook from the Climate Prediction Center gives high probabilities for a warmer and drier than average winter across the Northwest.

Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond said a lot of what's driving this forecast is an El Niño, a warming cycle in the Pacific Ocean that can have big effects on weather and climate around the globe.

"It is slow getting started, but it looks like it is happening in the tropical Pacific,” he said. “In the past when we have had those conditions, it has tended to be on the warm, dry side."

As you might imagine, this outlook sends shivers down the spines of anyone who depends on winter snowpack for recreation, water supply or hydropower.

"We like to have snow in the mountains here,” Bond explained. “Our economy depends on it. It is kind of a shame when we don't get enough."

Bond can think of at least one upside though. Highway departments may spend less on snow plowing and avalanche control this winter.