What's Next for the Pacific Northwest?
Neutral El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Conditions
The weak La Niña conditions that existed this fall and winter have now returned to neutral conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) throughout most of the equatorial Pacific Ocean have been near-normal over the last four weeks, except for some locations in the far western and far eastern equatorial Pacific where SSTs have been above normal. Neutral conditions are expected to last through the spring and summer, with models indicating the possible development of El Niño conditions by late summer/early fall. By the August through October period, the chances of El Niño conditions (~45%) slightly exceed those of neutral conditions (~40%).
What does this mean for Washington in the coming months?
The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) March temperature outlook has equal chances of below, equal to, or above normal temperatures for the entire state. The March precipitation outlook is similar, with little indication of how the monthly precipitation will turn out. All of WA has equal chances of below, equal to, or above normal precipitation for March.
The CPC outlook for spring (March-April-May; MAM) is calling for equal chances of below, equal to, or above normal temperatures for the entire state. For precipitation, there are higher chances of above normal spring precipitation statewide.
Remember that these outlook percentages are based on a tercile system, and therefore the chances of below, equal to, or above normal temperatures or precipitation are split into equal probabilities of 33%. When there is a greater than a 33% chance of an occurrence, it should be looked at as a slight tilting of the odds in favor of that outcome.
Last Updated: 2/16/2017
Climate Prediction Resources
NWS Local 3-Month Temperature Outlook
The links below provide access to global and regional climate predictions.